Media Blog #5 – Mobility – Virtual Space, Networks & Dimensionality

I’m horrifically tired so I’ll probably end up sounding like this. Please comment if something doesn’t make sense! I’d love to explain it.

My phone is a conduit through which I can enter a virtual, communicative “space of flows” – a means of circumventing those geometries of power imposed upon me by lecturers, tutors, and people on the train. Expanding on the example of the phone, its functions enable a mediation of space in at least three ways. Firstly, there is a “pure” informational space occupied by texts. Secondly there is a sensual space of sound through which mouths are linked to ears and vice-versa. Thirdly, there is a sensual space of sight facilitated by my phone camera, which captures and transmits images.

Not only do phone numbers function as a way of distinguishing one phone from another, they act as a kind of passcode, enabling access to private networks of communication. They are not social spaces in the typical sense because they only exist when they’re being used. They’re virtual paths of communication possessing only one real dimension – the coordinate of the phone number. The phone-conduit’s conditions of access are influenced by the politics of the real space in which the user resides. Ito’s example of Japanese teens texting each other during the “”dead time” between jotting notes and waiting for the teachers to finish writing theirs” points to the conflict between a spatiality’s conditions of access and the normativities of the local or co-located spatiotemporalities. It’s an occulted space.  The teacher’s gaze functions as a beam of normatising power, deterring access to the phone-conduit.

Conversely, the mobile space of flows is a low-profile space of resistance whose occupation claims a territory for these oppressed teens! This politicisation of space in turn politicises the temporalities of access. This unity of spatiality and temporality, which are in the first place inseparable, results in a spatiotemporality or “dimensionality” of resistance. Something interesting to note is the process by which we opt in to alternative dimensionalities. Politics is a process of choice – it’s a process of taking sides. In opting to direct our attention towards the mobile phone rather than the teacher, we issue a challenge to their authority. We could also say a person’s authority corresponds to the degree of control they exert over our access to dimensionalities. Compare a teacher who doesn’t mind you texting as long as you pay attention to the lesson with a teacher who takes everyone’s phones and keeps them in their desk until the end of the lesson. The mobile phone provides Japanese youth a small means of resistance to the authority that surrounds them.

Notes:

Keitai-dimension is reinforced as the territory of Japanese teens through their knowing gaze. How does the gaze function as a contextual medium for communication?

These network-spaces act as a kind of social safety net – webs converging on every member.

Lastly phone use is capable of producing a local space of private-within-public – it is a means by which my own “personal space” is reinforced. In the case of the Japanese teens this is a space over which they have some small control – brokering the flows of information. It is not a private-within-public space, but an extradimensional clubhouse.

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