The Place of the Mobile: Emplaced cartographies, camera phone ethnographies and locative media games

Prof. Larissa HJORTH
Associate Professor and Co-director of Digital Ethnography Research Centre, School of Media & Communication, RMIT University, Australia

From Google Maps, geotagging, Foursquare and Jiepang, locative media is becoming an integral part of the smartphone (and shanzhai or copy) phenomenon. For a growing generation of users, locative media is already an everyday practice. As yet little is known about the impact locative media is having upon people’s livelihoods, privacy and identity (Michael & Michael 2012) as it plays out in the everyday. Discourse in the field has opened up questions of art, innovation and experimentation (de Souza e Silva & Sutko 2009; Hjorth 2010, 2011). However, there remains a dearth of nuanced research on locative media that provides in-depth, contextual accounts of its socio-cultural and political dimensions. Little work has been conducted into locative media as it migrates from art and into the ‘messy’ (Dourish & Bell 2011) area of the everyday. In this talk, I consider the shift from 1st to 2nd generation locative media practices and some of the methodological questions this raises for undertaking close studies of media in situ. I especially focus upon some of the issues around emerging cross-generational surveillance and localized notions of privacy.