August 12, 2005

ubicomp and media mixes

While we're at it, here's another nice Mimi thing: Technologies of the Childhood Imagination: Yugioh, Media Mixes, and Everyday Cultural Production. I'm glad to see this is going to be published, as it points to a very important (in my opinion) parallel between multi-channel social media phenomena and ubiquitous computing.

The imagination of Yugioh pervades the everyday settings of childhood as it is channeled through these portable and intimate media forms. These forms of play are one part of a broader set of shifts towards intimate and portable technologies that enable lightweight imaginative sharing between people going about their everyday business. In many ways, this ecology is an illustration of concepts of ubiquitous or pervasive computing (Dourish 2001; McCullough 2004; Weiser 1991; Weiser and Brown 1996), extended to popular culture. In Japan, this pervasive media ecology includes trading cards, portable game devices, “character goods” such as mobile phone straps and clothing, screens and signage in the urban environment, as well as multimedia mobile phones that capture and exchange visual as well as textual information (Ito 2003; Okabe and Ito 2003). Imaginative fantasy is now more than ever part of the semiotics of everyday social life.

Yugioh, Pokemon, the Star Wars universe and their ilk are the early heralds of an age of ubiquitous media, or ubimedia. These media mixes, richly entwined with social and cultural practices, provide a useful context for understanding "what is the question to which 'ubicomp' is the best answer?"

Posted by Gene at August 12, 2005 10:21 AM

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