This week I saw the attention of mothers divided between their phones and their children.
I also found myself absorbed in a book instead of chatting to my two breakfast companions, who were equally immersed in a magazine and newspaper respectively. ‘Distraction’ isn’t unique to ubiquitous new media.
Some traditional media seem to be more present than ever. Don’t we now assume all dairies sell Vodafone top-ups? Sandwich boards, placed into our street-level environment, are an effective reminder though.
Others haven’t fared as well. You have to look hard to find a phone booth these days. This one seems to be supporting its own obsoletism.
Tablets are the opposite of obsolete. Walk into an art gallery and I’ll bet you’ll find some dedicated to providing information about the works on display. At Wellington City Gallery there’s even an iPad that register your email address and… that’s it. I’ve heard of thin clients (Lametti) but this is thin uses.
Is this the way our media environments are going? More thin clients with thin uses? More sensors and more opportunities to look like plonkers almost walking into allegedly automatic doors?
“Cross when you see the green man.” But what about a green woman? A green figure? The green whatevers at several Wellington intersections were swapped out for green Kate Sheppards leading up to the election. The change celebrates women’s suffrage, yet it also shows how ubiquitous media interfaces can be associated with equally ubiquitous gendered assumptions, something which we have only touched on briefly in class (Nusselder 12-13).
Adding a skirt to the ‘green man’ may not be the answer, but some enterprising individual in Dunedin thought it was. Tagging, street posters, stickers. I’m intrigued how these media alterations of our environment changehow we experience it.
Don’t listen to Mark Deuze. We’re not always on. Don’t listen to Heidegger either. This is being in the world, smelling the flowers, strolling in the park…
… and wifi access, naturally.