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Audible telepresence: A sonic phenomenology of mobile phones

Richardson, I. (2009) Audible telepresence: A sonic phenomenology of mobile phones. In: ANZCA09: Communication, Creativity and Global Citizenship Conference, 8 - 10 July 2009, Queensland University of Technology. Creative Industries Precinct. Brisbane, Australia

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In this paper I discuss the relation between embodiment and telepresence in the context of mobile media interfaces, focusing specifically on the aural aspects of mobile phones, their effects upon the urban soundscape, and the impact of audile telepresence on the ways of being embodied in contemporary culture. In particular, I argue that attending to the ‘soundings’ of mobile media can provide critical insights into the relational ontology of bodies and mobile phones. Firstly, I suggest how attention to sound can effectively de-privilege the primacy of vision or ocularcentrism embedded in much analysis of our experience of contemporary media. In turn, this leads us to re-think the phenomenology of screen media and mobile small screen interfaces in particular. Secondly, I consider the resonant effects of mobile phones upon the urban soundscape, and the important differences between mobile phones and mp3 players in terms of what Michael Bull (2004) calls the “auditory privatisation of public space”. My analysis, then, endeavours to offer a more nuanced interpretation of telepresence via a ‘sonic phenomenology’ of mobile phone use, revealing modes of contemporary embodiment not adequately captured by the visual primacy frequently given to the relation between screen-based media and embodied (tele)presence.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Media, Communication and Culture
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