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Mobile Technosoma: Some phenomenological reflections on itinerant media devices

Richardson, I. (2005) Mobile Technosoma: Some phenomenological reflections on itinerant media devices. Fibreculture Journal (6).

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Portable media devices and 'wearable' communications technologies are becoming both increasingly ubiquitous and personalised, penetrating and transforming everyday cultural practices and spaces, and further disrupting distinctions between private and public, ready-to-hand and telepresent interaction, actual and virtual environments. Such devices range from the standard mobile phone – which itself is exceeding its role as a communication device – to highly sophisticated multimedia hybrids, personal digital assistants (PDAs), MP3 players, personal media centres and handheld networkable game consoles. This article presents some initial thoughts pre-empting a bigger research project on mobile connectivity and media, and their emergence as portable microworlds or pocket technospaces. The project en large aims to investigate the emerging socio-cultural and techno-corporeal effects of mobile interactive media, and how they are changing the ways people interact with both their digital interfaces and each other, altering the shape and meaning of community and spatial location, and our embodied and agentic placement within metropolitan, pedestrian (i.e. literally 'walkable') and urban environments.

Much of the research and analysis in this project will focus on the mobile phone itself and its ostensible mutability into digital video camera, email and web interface, MP3 player, personal organiser, wireless broadband laptop-link, data storage and game device. In her study on mobile phone use in the global context, Sadie Plant observes that the mobile phone is often used as the primary means of Internet access (Plant, 2003).[1] The multi-functionality of the mobile phone, together with high-speed wireless third generation (3G) and Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) networks, and the adoption of Internet protocol technology, means that both mobile phone carriers and makers of handheld phones are poised to move beyond the voice market and into that of mobile media and data communication (strategy+business magazine, May 10, 2004). Moreover, today's advanced handsets 'are disrupting many industries simultaneously, including photography, music and games' (The Australian, September 7, 2004).

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Media, Communication and Culture
Publisher: Fibreculture Publications/The Open Humanities Press
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