The Digital Heart.

At first glance the mobile phone is a genie’s lamp, a magical portal to entertainment and communication nirvana. The small screen is a mirror scape reflecting our dreams and desires in the form of a miniature narratives stored deep within the heart of the mobile device.

This view is expanded upon by Paul Golding when he states: the notion that the personal device represents a kind of digital heartbeat is a powerful metaphor, with data-flow as our digital lifeblood. Just as the heart traditionally denoted the seat of the intellect in many ancient traditions, the digital heartbeat is its proxy in the virtual realm, a kind of digital alter-persona.It is our digital core. With a digital heartbeat, it will be easier to interface with machines. This is a new dimension to the mobile experience.(Glotz, Bertschi and Locke, 2005, Pg 241.)

In the datascape, we exist as particles of information, we are constantly assembled, deconstructed, and re-assembled. We learn to communicate with the interface, but one must pose the following question. Is it the user who is driving the changes in technology are are we simply adapting to the parameters of the media?

An example of human modification to fit the parameters of mobile media can be seen in the emerging language patterns associated with sms messaging. The adoption of abbreviations and symbols may enable users to maximise information whilst still adhering to the restrictive limit of 160 characters for each sms message, but are these concessions eroding or enhancing our shared communications. Is it a case of language adapting to suit the parameters of the technology, or are we simply adapting the human self in order to communicate with an alien interface.

The mobile device instigates an archaeology that marks a distinct paradigm shift away from conventional modes of communication, and socialisation. Due to the procedural nature of the mobile interface, a user must adopt a new dialogue that acknowledges the limitations imposed by the mobile device. The audience must now learn a new set of codes and conventions in order to successfully operate and navigate within a networked space. As we adopt the language of the machine, it is worth asking what role traditional modes of storytelling will play in the production of miniature narratives for the mobile device.

The transformative nature of the Podcasting and Moblogging are profoundly altering the way we access and create digital narratives. The mobile phone becomes a tool for interaction and lifestyle management. The user has the power to publish or access content at the touch of a button. It is conceivable that the inception of the Webcam and the Reality T.V. program has instigated a new narrative form in which the personal and the private co-exist within the one heavily mediated space. Weibel states that
A new market of attention produces narcissism, exhibitionism, voyeurism as new playgrounds of the mass media, in which no limits are set on the sellout of the private sphere. (p84) (DISLOCATIONS)

The phone becomes an extension of the self, allowing the exchange of narratives and blurring conventional notions of the public and the private. Plant (2002) in her paper, ‘on the mobile’ states that: The mobile has taken its place in a time marked by increasing connectivity, unprecedented mobility, and the emergence of new cultures, communities and collectives, and is now helping to shape that new, emerging world. (2002, p. 77)

The mobile device becomes a portal for transient and ephemeral narratives that exist briefly within the heart of the machine. Disembodied communications from loved ones; friends and work colleagues share a non-hierarchal place with playful chat and gossip. Our human interactions and emotions are computated and coded into a list. Now stored as the digital debris of our endeavours to reach out into the networked universe to connect briefly with the human interface.

Like the robot, we can ask ourselves: Where is the cogito, the place of my self consciousness, when everything I actually am is an artefact- not only my body, my eyes, but even my most intimate memories and fantasies” (Coyne, 1999, p. 274)


~ by Dean on May 4, 2006.

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