Finding Augusta: Habits of Mobility and Governance in the Digital Era (Interfaces: Studies in Visual Culture)
Heidi Rae Cooley
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Winner of the 2015 Anne Friedberg Innovative Scholarship Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies
Finding Augusta breaks new ground, revising how media studies interpret the relationship between our bodies and technology. This is a challenging exploration of how, for both good and ill, the sudden ubiquity of mobile devices, GPS systems, haptic technologies, and other forms of media alter individuals’ experience of their bodies and shape the social collective. The author succeeds in problematizing the most salient fact of contemporary mobile media technologies, namely, that they have become, like highways and plumbing, an infrastructure that regulates habit.
Audacious in its originality, Finding Augusta will be of great interest to art and media scholars alike.
the level of the logical “interpretant.” It enacts a correspondence between an object and its sign (e.g., mobile device –› connection). Thus, habit is the very condition of signification. In order for signs to mean something, there must be shared, habitual interpretations of them. Peirce equates cognition with semiosis, which he defines as a “species of conduct.”36 The general manner by which people, that is, a community of interpreters or inquirers, arrive at meaning assumes, as Apel specifies,
Virginia Contemporary image-sharing practices that make use of keyword tags provide an excellent opportunity to observe the interaction of conscious choices, nonconscious habits, and technological mediations that make persons, places, and things findable. Scott Nixon’s The Augustas reel allows us to contextualize these current trends in social networking within a longer history of technology-enabled practices of self-recording. The social-networking platforms and tools I consider in this
definition camera phones and other ‘life capturing and storing devices.’”8 Populations began caching “every second of [their] existence.” Presumably, those investing in the project of “collecting, storing and displaying one’s entire life” understood data accumulation, in and of itself, as a defining principle and desirable outcome.9 The same year witnessed Microsoft’s SenseCam (2004). A personal black box of sorts, SenseCam offers an extreme instance of life caching. Unlike typical imaging
and tagging, this expressive particularity is parsed in relation to a variety of external inputs and influences, including other platform-specific members and subscribers, visiting commenters, software companies and their employees, and so on. Importantly, then, expressivity, and the aesthetics thereof, only emerges as such within a semiotically dense, highly organized social situation. What constitutes the expressive as such is not necessarily a matter of an individual’s concerted
search engine culture or “search engine society.” What I want to underscore is that user habits change according to the user’s understanding of what Google is actually doing. As one learns how Google works, one’s use of Google changes. See Alexander M. Campbell Halavais, Search Engine Society, Digital Media and Society Series (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2009). 31. Langville and Meyer, Google’s Pagerank and Beyond, location 697. 32. Langville and Meyer, Google’s Pagerank and Beyond, location 709.