A Mobile Media Lab in Canada

I wasn’t going to post anything today as I already put online some previous articles on Kyoto and Graffiti I found in my hard drive and online. But this project looks really exciting.

There is a joint university research project called Mobile Media Lab, I stumbled on this site while admiring local graphic design, Studio Feed. They just finished working on it, along with Pixel Circus.  I highly recommend checking out the site itself, as it is a jewel in graphic design and the ergonomics seem equally appealing.

The Mobile Media Lab is a joint effort, run by both communications departments of York and Concordia, honouring the Canadian tradition of critical thinking and research on communications – long live McLuhan!  Research seems to center around the impact of new media on our lives and while I have yet to understand what are the boundaries of the project ,for now I’ll be glad to learn more on projects like Friction, which explore the sounds bikes make. There seems to be another very interesting project on the impact of music commuters listen to while riding public transit and how music makes them engage with their surroundings.

The MML also developped an application designed to turn your Ipod Touch/ Iphone in to a mobile game controler – I will be downloading this onto my Iphone as soon as I’m finished writing this! You can check it out on www.tentacles.ca

Coming back to MML, I find 3 of the research questions the lab focuses on of particular interest:

  • How can an awareness of environmental contexts, social histories and local knowledge influence mobile media use?
  • What are some of the social practices, communities and activist agendas that might engage with these technologies?
  • What are the material and regulatory contexts shaping the production, distribution and use of mobile practices and wireless technologies?

Events in Tunisia and Egypt certainly come to mind right now when looking at these questions, but myriads of other examples are out there, or merely waiting to happen, triggered by a highly motivated agent or community.  Place making and branding certainly rely directly on these questions of awareness and strategies, and the wealth and quality of communication used to feed these strategies certainly does depend on the conditions of production of these technologies.

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