The Mobile Digital Commons Network is a national collaborative research network launched a year ago by the Banff New Media Institute and Concordia University. Situated in Banff, Toronto and Montreal the network is made up of designers, engineers, and communications scholars from a number of institutions that also includes the Ontario College of Art & Design and Concordia University. The MDCN explores the connections between human beings, urban and wilderness settings, and mobile technologies. By developing interactive mobile experiences and observing the dynamics inherent in wireless immersive environments, each of the MDCN projects that make up the network moves us closer to understanding how these technologies augment, enhance and transform our culturally situated experiences of urban and outdoor spaces.
Cityspeak is an urban intervention designed to engage people in actively marking up public space. The project reconfigures private communication technologies into private-to-public (p2P) tools. Our motivation for providing a public outlet for privately-produced messages is driven by an interest in addressing the ongoing media reconfiguration of shared urban spaces which favors commercial global consuming culture over personal or local points of view. Our targets are the large-scale LED screens that are increasingly found in Western urban cores. Cityspeak provides a means for urban inhabitants to talk back to these giant screens.
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While the emphasis in traditional game theory has been on the rule formations and zone demarcations that distinguish games from play, mobile games tend to deliberately and thoughtfully blur the lines, not just between games and play but between a game and an experience, as well as between places of play (the “magic circle”) and places of everyday life. Mobile games often create moments of liminality as they are driven by the idea of playing with and within everyday spaces, technologies, and objects. In this brief paper, I will discuss these boundaries and the liminality of mobile games to date, and focus on one particularly difficult ethical area- that of player and non-player participation.
Locative media connects to a longer tradition associated with communication technologies and the arts, notably artistic experimentation with telecommunications media in the 1970s. Yet, what sets locative media apart is its commitment, engagement, and deployment of Western controlled satellite technologies. Yet the democratization of the tools and data generated via surveillance technologies is complicated by the fact that these technologies are necessary in the formation of locative media. This diminutive analysis will briefly outline locative media’s relationship to and its radical break from surveillance technologies and in turn isolate the intrinsic tension of locative media; its anomalous position as an appropriation and assimilation of surveillance technologies.
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While new media analysts insist
that mobile games will “replace ringtones, logos and other
mobile phone personalisation services as one of the key drivers of the
handset market” (Finn, 2005, p.32; Edwards, 2006), it should
come as no surprise that the North American game industry has been
relentless in trying to capitalize on the buzz and hype surrounding
mobile entertainment content. With a cell phone in hand, consumers
today can take on the role of rap artist Lil Jon and participate in a
game of “crunk golf” amidst the confine of an urban
metropolis. Similarly, gamers can transform themselves,
vis-à-vis their cell phones, into CTU agents and work
alongside Jack Bauer in preventing a nuclear attack in 24—a
mobile game based on the popular television series.
labeled ‘digital public space’ by some, and decried
‘extreme sports’ of research by others, blogs,
wikis, and other digital tools have become an extensive part of online
life, as well as social science research. Their presence is so
ubiquitous that they are used in fields as diverse as accounting and
organ transplant (Bean and Hott, 2005; Sauer, et al., 2005). Through
their iterative and participatory format, these tools have facilitated
collaborative group research in new ways. This paper will serve not to
develop a theory of this use of digital technologies, but will instead
survey the practices that accompany these technologies, using my
experience on the Mobile Digital Commons Network (MDCN) project as a
touchstone. Indeed, it is method and process more than theory that have
been changed in social science research by these emergent digital