The development of location aware games potentially transforms urban public settings into “hybrid ecologies”, which merge the physical and the digital. “Hybrid ecologies” are the loci of ‘seamful’ social situations in which participants may interact both on the basis of their physical proximity and through digital media and mobile terminals. How do such “hybrid ecologies” support sociality? Considering the fact that urban public settings are places the occupants of which orient towards meeting strangers, may urban “hybrid ecologies” become the sites of particular forms of encounters? In this talk, which is based on an ethnographic study of the proximity game Dragon Quest 9 in Japan and France, I will try to work out and illustrate three ideas regarding the interaction order of encounters in hybrid public places, which are important to our understanding of the ways locative media are and will be actually used in public settings: a) Because “hybrid ecologies” occasion ‘seamful’ social situations, they support layered participation frames. Encounters may develop so that they are either acknowledged at all levels, or only in part, that is they are acknowledged on one interactional layer and denied at another, which is the essence of what Japanese players call “timid encounters” b) The actual unfolding of “timid encounters” reveals a normative principle which is much more general, but plays an especially central role with locative media: when two persons who either know one another, or are connected through digital media, ‘discover’ they are close, such mutual knowledge projects the relevance of a face to face encounter. This has important and often overlooked consequences with respect to the social acceptability of locative media. c) We often assume a metonymic relationship between mobile terminals and their owners. The users of locative media often remind us that this is only an assumption by exploiting creatively the possibility of severing the link between the mobile terminal and the mobile body of their owners.
About the Center
The Center for Network Culture at the IT University Copenhagen consists of a group of interdisciplinary researchers from across the institution, coming together to investigate the notion of networked culture, which we see as one of the defining characteristics of the modern world.
We are particularly interested in going beyond the study of individual uses of technologies, focusing instead on the culture(s) of networks, remixing practices, collaboration, and distribution as key to understanding how we are negotiating a complex web of new technologies and social structures. We pay particular attention to the everyday (indeed often mundane) context and construction of network culture in our lives. We are interested in how people relate to each other in this digital world and to the shifting social and political actors that are shaping the future.
We are also strongly interested in the inter-relation between emerging technologies and practices... Read the full text here