Saturday, October 18, 2008

Keynote Address: Stephen Graham

Stephen Graham "Ambient Intelligence and the Politics of Urban Space"

Dana Cuff "Enacted Environments" - Representation of future urban space as augmented, city lives through bombardment of information interactions.

The modern city exists as a haze of software instructions" Ash Amin & Nigel Thrift

Four ways of thinking about the new ambient intelligence:
  • There's not a real/virtual binary, but rather a process of urban 'remediation.' (think Bolter and Grusin)
  • Cities are 'fluid machines' which combine distant proximity with 'proximate distance.' Think experiencing the distancing in a 'local' context.
  • Systems are most important when they are less visible and most important. They become the ordinary world of the city. They are visible when they fail (Susan Leigh-Star). These systems are built in modular components
  • The Automatic production of space produces a new urban-technological politics.

Friction-Free Capitalism - individually customized, surveillance is customized, real time. Perfect flow complete efficiency and annihilation of space through time.

RFIDS - smooth flow, just in time management, ubiquitous tracking. You can get it even when you think you don't need it.

Software Sorted Mobilities - makes possible the movement of old infrastructures into new markets (paying more for more efficient mobility on highways etc. paying for premium services in everyday processes) Filtering by the profiles in databases, Internet packets, biometric passports. Malls sensing particular individuals, store sent txts with discounts. Hyper filtering of the wanted and distancing from the unwanted.
Korea Digital Media City on the edge of Seoul

Securitization and Militarization of urban space. Technologies of risk management and means of prosecuting warfare are about targeting mobiles bodies and transactions that are threatening (Louise Amoore). Are we moving toward passage-point urbanism? The city as the threat, because this is where the security threats lurk. Everything must be justified in advance of its presence in the city within passage-point urbanism. Think of cyberwarfare "battlespace" - everywhere is a battlefield in the new militarism. It is ongoing, not a war you go in and out of. Artist Jordan Crandall: a militarization through 'Armed Vision': "tracking is an anticipatory form of seeing." One way collapse, the security anticipates before you arrive. Every time you fly out of the UK there are 53 variables that go into play deciding whether or not you are a threat.

Surveillence Creep: Embedded system become securitized. Means of management to a means of security. The city can be seen as clutter of concealment by the military. Enemy leaders look like everyone else, enemy vehicles look like civilian vehicles, etc. Need for close-in terrestial means of tracking - continual development and early deployment. Dreams of transparency, boomerang effect described by Foucault (the warzone connects to the domestic techniques of government). Biometrics replace id cards, etc.

Penetrating the clutter of the city (Paul Virilio): heads up display with overlays to get through and understand. DOD with a single uninterruptible database with biometric information: Fusion Centers. Cyberpunk visions are influencing military research. Automated targeting that happens through 'normal' and 'abnormal' - military utilizes geo-cultural norms to determine if something is not right. Algorithms with agency will find targets that need attention: figure out what normal behaviors what are not - politics of code become important as who will make those decisions? CCTV does this, analyzing the activities of people in crowds and gives enforcers the ability to respond immediately. Unmanned vehicles and weapons can target specific "threats."

Art and Activism: Re-enchanting, re-animating, re-politizing the city? These artists challenge the sanitized and transparent corporate and commercial spaces and militarized and securitized spaces. They re-appropriate the technology and use it to address aliented experiences, outing authorial empowerment. Remediate cities in a highly democratic way: Murmur project Kensington Toronto, stories linked to sites. Grafedia project allows people to write on objects of the city through cellphones. Yellow Arrow Guerrilla Mapping projects, allows people to tag and annotate the city through stickers and a web interface. RFID tag artists: Paul Roush (scroll down for interview) utilizes them in public transport to create sound environments. David Kousemaker iTea, RFID tags created searches depending on the person they were for on a table-based interface. Meghan Trainor puts them in uncatorgizable objects (she's made them).

Animating the Past: Digital Collective Memory. As moving around the city you can bring up archived information, an interface to collective memory that is contributed to by participants.
Animating the present: annotating the current place, personalized maps. Mapping emotion responses (Christian Nold's Greenwich emotion map - arousal surfaces.
Opening the City as Gamespace: Asphalt Games. Allow games to move out of cyberspace and into the city (flashmobs, etc.).

Counter-Geopolitics: You Are Not Here Counter geo-political project. In Manhattan you can be given parallel information about Baghdad. Paula Levine, Shadows from another Place: leave artifacts, similar to YANH.

Appropriate of military technologies. Counter Reconnaissance create a counter consciousness - sousveillence. Removes tech from an imperial structure.

There are three logics that are struggling to become fixed into infrastructure. Now is a moment of experimentation and the politics are relatively open. Graham worries that these opportunities will not last long as sentient intelligences become the city. We must look at how far off distances are become immediate spatio-temporailties. How are technophilic dreams enacted and mobilized. We must expose how new technological politics can be visible rather than hidden. How can we open up the politics of code? We must prevent dominance and normalization of militarized and consumerized logics based on software-sorting, targeting, militarization and neoliberalization.

Stephen Graham

Notes on Gender on the Internet Presentations

Holly Kruse "Gender & Interactive Media Environments: A Case Study"

Horseracing and Interactive Media

Using the Internet to bet, or going into the physical space.
Kruse is concerned with presence and whether or not it is gendered. Think about para mutial betting - many people are influencing the odds but we don't sense who they are or where they are.

Gender and age are both factors in Off Track Betting (OTB) sites.

Women liked that the betting seemed private, time to figure out how to bet without pressure from others. They missed seeing the horses in person

Men liked the bar, being with friends at OTB. Women didn't like being around the other patrons, and they missed the horses at OTB.

Preferences on using the Internet to bet may be attributed to the use of the home (men = leisure, women = work)

Denise N. Rall "Craft in the Age of the Internet"

StitchnBitch movement where women meet in public places to knit
What is traditional craft? Involves environment, technologies, indigenous practices.

Spinning influenced cultural meanings in Peru because it was responsible for creating the clothing that labeled people as part of a hierarchical organization/status orientation.

Machinery is more important than care to the self. So where is protest part of spinning? Ghandi made hand spinning the visual icon for his nonviolent protest movement. StitchnBitch claims that craft + protest was rooted in the 1960's - Rail believes it goes much further back. Women were first given independent work and incomes in during the Industrial revolution as a result of the mechanization of spinning and weaving. Rail doesn't think people were knitting while protests were happening.

Home craft experienced a break after mechanization. Think Bauhaus the home as a "machine for living"

Digital Domesticana. Martha Stewart exploded, Needlecraft is now worth 1.07 Billion. Knitting now has new imagery: knit "chic." Urban vs. rural economy: the Internet plays a huge role in Urban areas because of its speed and reach. The Internet fails for people in rural communities because the networks are locally built and you learn in the home and strong connection to land argriculture and animals. Urban communities can reconfigure traditional elements. Representations, crafts should be kinky and it tells the home craft person that they need the expertise of professional crafts and you can't DIY. But isn't that just extending your social network? Just because a professional is in your social network doesn't mean you can't learn from them. Spinning is different because active pursuit of the craft is rare and its hard to learn from the book. Finding a specialized practitioner is almost necessary

Marj Kibby "Not Sleeping with the Band: Female Fandom Online"

Hysterical female fans of the Beatles in 1964 - it was one of the few roles available to women at the time in music. Female music fan's experience is mediated as a pre-teen idolization rather than a mature appreciation of music culture. The Internet has changed music culture and music fandom is experienced through access to music and other fans. Music zines and music blogs, from the bedroom to the street - music culture is more public. Women are more likely to participate when they know what they are saying is accurate and won't make them look stupid.

Both males and females feel as though they have a personal relationship with bands on MySpace. Both males and females talk about their personal feelings outside of the band using messaging systems (had a bad day, glad to be among friends, ex.)

What the Internet provides is enhanced opportunities a greater variety of experiences and increased returns for effort. Woman can view themselves as music fanatics instead of groupies.

Sarah Bocciardi Bassett "Performing Themselves: Women's Identity Strategies in World of Warcraft"

Games girls play: Games marketed to girls, games marketed to men that women like (Halo, etc.) Are there ways that women play sexist games and subvert it? Are identities fixed or fluid?

Sample is not casual gamers, these are women with multiple 70 level plus characters.
Portrayed themselves as very feminine, flirting and playing up their gender. They did this because there were rewards: help, free stuff. Using gender to advantage
Make gender a non-issue. Didn't disclose gender to anyone except close friends. Need to monitor chat and looked down on very feminine women, wanted to exceed because they're good players.
One respondent took on a very masculine role. Gave her more authority, people listened to her more. When she played as a women people really tried to help her. In her guild people knew she was a woman, can flirt etc. but assumes authority as well.

Role playing was seen as creating fiction. Others saw this as an opportunity to have an outlet on their true identity without judgement. Many tried to fight sexism actively.

Women want to play games marketed to men, but they need to be marketed to. Identities may be more fixed than we thought. Its very had to maintain outside Internet identities as members network outside of WOW.

Notes on Youth presentations at IR9

David Gurzick "Rethinking Recruitment for Adolescent Online Communities"

Adolescents have very obviously become a driving force in utilizing new technologies. David defines them as 12-19.

Which methods are successful in getting adolescents to register for online communities? Did this method have any impact on their level of participation? David and colleagues created a community and recruited youth to participate. FieldTrip is a media rich FieldTrip to stimulate teenagers to think about ownership of education. Youth made digital videos to discuss their beliefs and attitudes about education and learning. David's research group hired the same company that edited the Wire to edit video from the youth.

Recruitment started one month prior using snowballing emails (to UMBC faculty and undergrads) and flyers with incentives. Created groups on Facebook and MySpace and posted to related groups also utilized craigslist. Parents wouldn't be aware of what they were producing and everyone was anonymous as no one could disclose personal information. Adolescents were most responsive to joining an online community through authority figure prompted solicitation (they actually went through with registration

Were there higher levels of engagement from peer prompted solicitation? David notes that the level of participation (number of logins, content viewed and postings) wasn't varied at all based on the recruitment method. Qualitative research found the same result.

David suggests utilizing the best recruitment method that fits with your available resources.

Henry Mainsah "Ethnic minority youths' expression of identity on a Norwegian social network site"

Henry is looking at how minority youth utilize the Internet in Norway particularly through patterns of self-representation. How do self-authored profiles serve as platforms for reproducing or resisting the main identity narratives that shape the Norwegian multi-cultural space. He finds that people have fragmented and fluid identities online and produce "new ethnicities" particularly among transnational youth is very popular among youth of 15-20 and functions as an SNS in Norwegian. Mainsah has utilized virtual ethonography as he's participated in many SNSes that youth use and has gained an understanding of how these are utilized by youth.

An examination of screen names includes these references:
  • Ethnicity/Nationality: Chilena, Afghan Mafia, Cuban Sugar - these reinforce their nation of origin
  • Indexing race: Chocolate, Vanilla, Latte, Brown Sugar - reference physical features. In their profile some will write personal narratives and others will write about their ethnicity as collective identity: "Roses are red but LATINOS are everywhere!"
  • They also mix language codes, mixing other languages with other slang terms from other languages.

Cultural reproduction through hybridity, creolisation, bricolage. In this case macro-society really shapes how people display themselves online, not necessarily resisting, but often reaffirming normative views

Nadia Kutscher "Worlds Apart? Virtual Spaces of Youth People: The Power of Cultural Capital while using the Internet"

Kutscher is interested in how educational inequality shape participants in Germany.

Attitudes toward Internet use:
  • Leisure oriented Internet use
  • Information-oriented Internet use (high formal education background, frequent Internet users, focused Internet use, they shop, use wikis, they also often utilize it for Internet)
  • Establishing new social networks/relationships (like to chat, register for new sites, often younger)

People surveyed often visited and never heard of A correlation analysis shows that wikipedia was utilized by mostly formally high educated and Knuddels used by those with a low educational background.

Certain groups will dominate particular sites with views and construct meanings of these spaces/websites. Construction is in flux between website makers and website users, informed by a variety of factors (educational background, targeted audience, actual use of the site), reproduce resource inequalities. Unequal options of mobility can be reconstructed according to the availability of resources. There is a process of social closure which exclude some and make it more exclusive for constituents.

Lynn Schofield Clark "Digital Media and the Generation Gap"

How families utilize digital media to maintain/enhance family ties: Media Rich & Time Poor. How families articulate authority and how teens view attempts of authority in digital media practices.

Lower income families are of course time poor as well, and have more time burdens than gentrified communities: chronic health conditions, extra jobs, etc. The role of digital media is different, but strategies are the same.

Youth people from 1st gen immigrant families - part digital part dream (better futures, "living large"). Want to value culture, but also want to be part of digital environment.

Rise of reflexive parenting - parents need to choose how they parent and how they construct media that reflects that type of parenting. Patterns of authority show that authoritative notions are most effective. What are parental concerns about Digital Media? How do young people interpret that? How do they respond?

Parental concerns:
  • Predators
  • Porn
  • Bad morals
  • Abduction
  • Lack of experience shapes this
  • limited experience shapes this

One child was annoyed with the idea that she would look at porn, knows that her parents trust her. Parents trust her to self-regulate.

Time limited at places where youth were utilizing Internet (family's house, library).

Many believe that abductions are common through the Internet. Youth know that parents believe they don't need to use Internet much, and that they have no real idea what they're doing.

None intentionally restrictive, emphasis on trust; frustrated by what parents were worried about.

Parent strategies relied on others to snoop on children online. Youth will buy their own methods of communication, and deregulate.

Teen strategies: educate parents to gain trust. Rebuffing parents concerns "times are different now." Denigrating and lying: making fun of parent's ignorance of what's going on with the Internet. Just telling parents they've stopped posting pictures when they're concerned, only use it to talk to friends, etc.

Secondary strategies: older siblings will take on parental roles by monitoring use, buying their own technologies and paying the bills (purchasing autonomy).

Gregory Donovon "Whose Safety, Whose Security? Situating Young People in Cyberspace"

Increased surveillance and censorship expands youth's digital footprints and greater mystification of their informational environments.

Young People as Victims:
  • To catch a predator
  • Access to cyberporn in magazines
  • Government advertising as potential drug use, "everyone's space"
  • teaches parents to snoop
  • Naive children as a perpetuated narrative which is usually inaccurate

Young People as Charismatic Consumers:
  • Informational ideal
  • Young people are in themselves marketers

Young People are Criminals:
Filesharing, hackers, copyright infringers

Young people as Actors:
  • HR4437 protests organized through new media to bypass authorities (depends on a trusted network)
  • Circumventing filters with proxy servers,

Partcipatory research practices - how can this create an empowered youth citizenry?
  • I Spy Surveillence - identify things that were collecting information about them online (looking at cookies, taking pictures of security cameras) reflect on behavioral modifications
  • Digital Device Timeline - evocative devices and reflect on how it shaped their identit
  • Digital auto-ethnography - bookmarking services, classification of browsing behaviors with reflection

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Notes on Presentations during "The Role of Digital Images and Photos Online"

Soren Petersen: The new role of digital images and photos online

Flickr use in Copenhagen

Picture vs. Photo
  • Photographs with fancy cameras, picture with camera phones.
  • Documentation, presents a "hat" or a "beach": these are photographs used in ads
  • A photo with aesthetics, the example has a very low depth of field so the background is out of focus
  • A picture has little aesthetics, it is grainy and it has notes and comments attached to it. Encourages interaction with the image.

A photo comment is from a viewer/spectator and a picture from a person who can relate on the basis of common everyday experiences. This may be why people post many banal images to web.

Lefebvre's triadic concept of everyday life: daily life, the Everyday (media, urbanism, bureaucratic), Everydayness (effective character, understood as shared but unrepresentable...desire of everyday life)

Sensations - Deleuze. When people take a picture of everyday experience they want to transmit the sensation of the experience. Everydayness then becomes the sensation of moblogging.

Concept of being the the world, the collective experience. Unity of sensing and the sense (Deleuze on Francis Bacon) Aesthetic differences between the photo and picture > experiencing commonality through banality and enjoying the everydayness. This may be why mobloggers have a hard time explaining why they take such pictures. Pictures gather meaning through the meta-textual context they are in (think comments on flickr)

How can we apply this to youtube, and things such as tazering videos which we often watch out of disbelief. does this appeal to the fantasy that we experience within everydayness?

Larissa Hjorth "Re-imagine Mobility: A Conceptual Reflection Upon Gendered Mobile Media in the Asia-Pacific

This was an amazing video that completely bombarded the viewer with tons of information about how gendered use of technology has been utilized in commercial and communicative means. I wish this was available somewhere!

Edgar Gomez, Amparo Lasen: Digital Photography and Picture Sharing: Redefining the Public/Private Divide.

Subjectification Process involve the shaping of the self and being subject to others, photography can enable this.
Flickr study: Who is this girl? Group in Madrid. Creates lively discussion about what is public and private. Girl was found and told about it and she freaked about being discussed as a subject. The concept of public is transforming..

Configuration of self through self-portraiture. Pictures of the body, sometimes involving nudity usually taken in private places. Shaping the perceptions of others and controlling the external gaze. Show what's interesting. This is part of the contemporary embodiment process.

The definition of privacy is now key on having control over who knows what about you See Livingstone, 2008 Who can access information about you.

Digital photography is taking par tin the definition of what is suitable and can be expected when being in a public place.

Convergence of digital photog and the Internet contributes to a new complex gaze.

Andrew Cox
Photoshop contests on Flickr
Looks at Photoshop Tennis: no ending point, multiple players. with player nominated rules (have fun, photorealism/no cartoons, themes, etc.)
Worth1000 often has more complicated rules focused toward a reward, rules are casual. Focus is on maximum participation rather than on PST there is an emphasis on quality.

Notes from Mimi Ito's talk: "Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Genres of Youth Participation in Networked Publics"

Presentation about Teens engaging in video games, digital media production
Found youth through parent networks, youth programs
Social and cultural factors driving innovation "translators"

Rise in teens use due to:
  • Growing availability of tools
  • Sharing with public visibility

Youth Networked Publics were geeky, but now they are more mainstream, "domesticated." These are placed within the context of regular interaction readily accessible persistent, specialized and broader context for publicity.

Genres of participation:
Tie together structures of participation and engagement with media/social groups
  • Friendship-driven participation - Hanging out within online spaces without restrictions on mobility and school with privacy. CJ Pascoe ("Living Digital") has done research on romantic relationships between teens through social networks. Notes that teens prefer to meet people in person first, not on Facebook. FB comes second. Teens use sns to overcome restrictions in their local social network. Media literacy comes through these everyday activites (web design, video production). Casual messing around can lead to "geeked out" participation
  • Interest-driven participation - Passion and interest drive these interactions. Exemplify the potential to change social worlds teens have access to. Expand beyond local social groups, niche knowledge, broader context for disseminating information. Most youth aren't participating, but Ito sees a possible expansion in the future.

Fansubbing anime is Mimi Ito's current research interest. Amateur fan networks will subtitle videos that aren't released in the US. Often these fans sub videos are the only access to particular shows. Speed focused groups will typically get a video out after 24 hours of release. Often extremely collaborative and specialized someone who records the show, typesetter, translators, quality checkers, editors, etc. Fans take high level of ownership with the products that fansub communities output. Often they'll critique fansubs and compare along very detailed standards. Improve craft, some peer pressure involved here - but focus in on creating and improving fansubs. They want to gain notoriety for their work, many downloads and views.
Anime Remix Videos. Ito shows us an AMV that shows a woman getting interested in AMV and her process. Kudos for showing a woman since fan remix videos are a very feminist approach and women have taken a huge role in producing these videos. Interestingly, the video shows a high level of self-deprecation that I think is common among video remixers. I like AMV's because they aren't concerned with the legitimacy that most remix videos are concerned with (i.e. Disney mashups that include the title screen, re-dubs where lips matching voiceovers matters). Transmedia videos like this one really push the boundaries of the reality of a story or show's universe - which what remix was all about initially. Video editing skills may not be encouraged locally, but through online communities, teens can become "greater gods" of editing.
There is a high level of self-deprecation among fansubbers and remixers - Is this a practice that is required to become legitimate among a community? There are specific levels of involvement with AMV communities and levels of engagement/induction. However, there are low barriers of entry.

Back to teens in public networks:
Learning in networked publics for youth happens through observing and practicing - outside of typical structures of school and limited access to peers. Experimenting with adult like autonomy. Stakes for participation are raised, consequences for publishing all this stuff, delayed gratification. Youth are engaged with the result is immediate. Adults will having to catch up to learning and innovating online.

Some youth have disabled the ability to have a top 8 to avoid social pressures.
Parodies are typically male genres, relationships are female dominated.

Hypersociality - more digital media tokens.

Report coming soon - November 2008 at

Blogging from AOIR 9

I'll be blogging various talks and such from the Association of Internet Researchers Conference in Copenhagen over the next few days. There's just rough notes, but I'll do a round up of awesome stuff afterward!