Mobile Reception: Materiality and Locality with Small Screens
Mobile phone screens have always been intimate displays. Attached to uniquely personal devices that rarely leave one’s side and linked to networks that carry one’s most intimate communications these screens provide a boutique set of opportunities and challenges for screen-based production. This chapter examines these affordances and restrictions with particular focus on what sets these mobile screens apart from other screens as sites of reception, production and distribution. It particularly focuses on the materialities of the devices, the key aspects of the locative and the nature of mobile devices as networked screens. It draws on exemplars from mobile-based media art productions that have made sophisticated use of these properties in ways that distinguish mobile screen work as a modality with its own language, aesthetic rules and creative production strategies. In these examples the chapter looks at how media artists are continuing a tradition of experimentation with the materiality of new mediums and how this contributes to developing the language of the medium. It examines how the particular properties of the mobile screen influence the type of content that is produced, from the nature of stories that sit well in the medium to the types of physical and virtual interaction that distinguish these screens from other networked screens.
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