Symposium Themes

Locating Media

The oft-heard rhetoric of recent media technologies is that it complicates traditional notions of spatial and geographical location insofar as these technologies are said to attend to one's technological needs without regard to where one is; for example, one common myth goes like this: 'one can access information about anything and communicate with people on the net without regard to which country one is in'.

Such postulations of location-neutrality, however, are based on a fallacious assumption that one's location is merely a secondary aspect of one's experiential environment and thus can be phenomenologically simulated or even negligibly circumvented by the mediation of communication, information and experiential technologies.

Location, however, is a complex experience constituted by one's cultural, economic, political and technological environment that is differentially distributed and conceived in different parts of the world. Thus, new technologies, even while purporting to surmount location, seem to be merely following the contours of the location-specific variables that operate in any particular space. While many recent technologies also present themselves as 'location-aware' that enable one's ability to address these location-specific variables in some ways, it is noteworthy that such experiences very often rely on simulating only an indexical notion of location through a series of sensory cues related to a particular space.

In the light of the centrality of location as a critical problematic and possibility, this theme seeks to examine how the specificities of location mediate and are mediated by both old and new technologies of information, communication and experience. We invite academic research, design and artistic explorations that explore the possibilities and problems of addressing location through media technologies. We are especially keen on works that address the complex historical, cultural, socio-political and economic contexts that affect location-specific interactions with such technologies.

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