Personal media and wireless cities : towards an urban spatial analysis

Hankwitz, Molly (2011) Personal media and wireless cities : towards an urban spatial analysis. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

For the past decade, at least, varieties of small, hand held networked instruments have appeared on the global scene, selling in record numbers, and being utilized by all manner of persons from the old to the young; children, women, men, the wealthy and the poor and in all countries. Their presences bespeak a radical shift in telecommunications infrastructure and the future of communications. They are particularly visible in urban areas where mobile transmission network infrastructure (3G, 4G, cellular and Wi-Fi) is more established and substantial, options more plentiful, and density of populations more dramatic. These end user products—I phones, cell phones, Blackberries, DSi, DS, IPads, Zooms, and others – of the mobile communications industry are the latest, hottest globalized commodities. At the same time, wirelessness, or the state of being wireless, and therefore capable of taking along one's networks, communicating from unlikely spaces, and navigating with GPS, is a complex social, political and economic communications phenomenon of early 21st century life.

This thesis examines the specter of being wireless in cities. It lends the entire idea an experimentally envisioned, historical and planned context wherein personalization of media tools is seen both as a design development of corporate, artistic, and military imagination, as well as a profound social phenomenon enabling new forms of sharing, belonging, and urban community.

In doing that it asserts the parameters of a new mobile space which, aside from clear benefits to humankind by way of mobility, has reinscribed numerous categories including gender. Moreover, it posits the recognition of other, more nuanced theoretical spaces for complex readings of gender and gendered use, including some instantiation of the notion of 'network' itself as a cyborgian and gendered social form. Additionally, cities are studied as places where technology is not only quickly popularized, but is connected to larger political interests, such as the reading of data, tracking of information, and the new security culture. In so doing the work has been undertaken as an urban spatial analysis and experimental ethnography, utilizing architectural, feminist, techno-utopian, industrial and theoretical literatures as discursive underpinnings from whence understandings and interpretations of mobile space, the mobile office, networked mobility, and personal media have come, linking the space of cities to specific, pioneering urban public art projects in which voice, texting and MMS have been utilized in expressions of ubiquitous networks and urban history. Through numerous examples of techno art, the thesis discusses the 'wireless city' as an emerging cultural, socially constructed economic and spatial entity, both conceived and formed through historic processes of urbanization.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 71324
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Flew, Terry & Wilson, Stephen
Keywords: mobile communications, mobile media, wireless, urban space, spatialities, gendered use, urban planning, social space, cell phone, mobile phone, architecture, wireless cities
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 09 May 2014 05:18
Last Modified: 09 May 2014 05:25

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