Mobile and Locative Media: In between Thanatos and Eros

Mobile and Locative Media: In between Thanatos and Eros

Lucia Santaella (Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-051-8.ch017
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Abstract

Mobile and locative media are, inescapably, surveillance media. Surveillance is a feature which has not been decreasing by the use of these media, but instead it has been increasing with ever growing levels of subtlety. These media are introducing a new regime of surveillance, one which I have been calling tracking surveillance, a regime that is distinct from panoptic and scopic surveillance. Tracking surveillance’s omnipresence should not mislead us to assume that these other two modes of surveillance have disappeared. Much on the contrary, these three regimes operate simultaneously, since the appearance of a new mode of surveillance does not lead to the demise of another. Due to the capillarity which characterizes surveillance in this era of connectedness and mobility, surveillance as an issue stands as a privileged standpoint for examining the ambivalent character, in between Thanatos and Eros, with which mobile and locative media have been operating in societies nowadays.
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Mobile And Locative Media: Implications

Clark (2003) gives four distinct meanings to mobile technologies:

  • a.

    devices may be, at any given time, at different locations “from that in which they were at one or more previous times” (§ 3);

  • b.

    devices are mobile in the sense that they are at any location that allows transmission for another device;

  • c.

    they are mobile in relation to the surface of the Earth, for example, when a user is on a plane;

  • d.

    lastly, devices are designed to be easily and conveniently portable and independent from wire transmission.

Mobile media and locative media are terms that have been used widely as synonyms. Therefore, it might sound redundant to use them juxtaposed. I have made this decision deliberately in order to make explicit that, when talking about locative media, we are necessarily talking about mobile media with geographical positioning and context sensitivity. They are, therefore, mobile and locative at the same time, despite the fact that this may seem a paradox.

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