March 2008


This was a short (5-minute) presentation I gave last year at the College of Fine Arts, Sydney, for the New Mobilities Symposium. I was of course trying to write a longish article, but instead it’s a short manifesto. At the same time as presenting this, I showed a video of a slow-mo dog pouncing on a mobile phone. How serious was I? I don’t know really …

LOCO-MOTION
14 theses and 21 ghosts for locative and mobile media
Andrew Murphie

Mobile and locative media are now at the core of things. This is an unstable core. It’s this instability I’m interested in today. I’m not trying to “pin down” mobile and locative media. Rather I’m interesting in how what I’m calling “loco-motion” propels an ongoing variation in living and technical systems. This has implications for thinking about media, but also for much else. I’m also interested in loco-mobile media as inter-temporal. By this I don’t mean that we have lots of modes of living available to us, that we can switch between. Rather I’m suggesting that the switching itself is becoming our prime mode of living, not only with mobile phones, or locative media, but all media events, for example VJing.

14 THESES ON MOBILE AND LOCATIVE MEDIA

1 – If ‘a body coincides with its own variati0n’ (Massumi) then mobile media coincide with their own variation

2 – Location is Mobile

3 – The Locative Opens a Field of Variation

4 – Loco-motion remakes communication – but not as communication studies style communication. Here “Communication is a mutual adjustment of
bodies
” (Sean Watson)

5 – Loco-motive battles are not over content, or communications, or intellectual property, but over affective distribution.

6 – Work with loco-motion is transdisciplinary, beyond even this perhaps. There are no “stable” media to pin down in a discipline. A self-satisfied Media Studies perishes.

7 – Mobility is often immobile, if immobile intensity. However, it’s also true that mobility creates mobility.

8 – It’s the phone that’s mobile, not you.

9 – Loco-motion resists “art”, but is good for chasings

10 – Loco-motion brings the “postcognitive” into fuller operation (Mark Amerika)

11 – New inter-temporalities proliferate.

12 – So do new “pre-accelerations” (Erin Manning). So do new preterritorialisations

13 – loco-motion is about targeting (servomechanisms rule the world in most spheres of life)

14 – loco-motion “fractalises” (Guattari) “the screen” and with it the society of spectacle (there is no attention, no “capture”, no time of the gaze, only inter-times)

21 GHOSTS AND MYSTERIES HAUNTING LOCO-MOTION

1 – Location itself

2 – Mobility – it’s all around us, and yet ..

3 – that which remains hidden .. as Derrida once wrote, “The hidden theme is the hidden theme” (as Nick Mansfield was fond of quoting to me)

4 – Cognitive Capital

5 – Politics, that is, the Polis

6 – the haptic, the proprioceptive (and proprioceptive enslavement)

7 – down time

8 – possessions

9 – Possessions of Possession; Shamanism and Exorcism

10 – Animal Spirits

11 – Ghosts at the Edge of Infinity

12 – Ghosts with No Name (the asemiotic)

13 – Devas (that is, new forces of production that we might have to talk nicely to)

14 – the world (do we still believe in it, see it)

15 – abstraction – misplaced concreteness (Whitehead) and “concrete misplacedness” (Matthew Fuller)

16 – “Standard Objects” (Matthew Fuller)

17 – forgotten networks

18 – Work … as a separate activity from other activities

19 – Love … as assembled from non-standard objects

20 – the synaptic (Guattari)

21 – Escape

I’ve been reading around on VJing, and Vague Terrain has this great issue. I particularly liked the look of the VJs Pillow and Mademoiselle ‘video souvenir’ and the work of Jackson 2bears. The Lara Houston article is fabulous, on VJing and Simondon. Houston also draws on the likes of Sher Doruff (her work on the translocal in performance is really groundbreaking but I’m not sure how much of it is published) and Brian Massumi, as well as a lot of good field work. Researching VJing via fieldwork must be fun – maybe as good as researching surfing.

I’m not a surfer but I always thought it would be a great area for field work. When I was 14, for a couple of weeks I was a dag hanging out at Evan’s Head, one of Australia’s best surfing spots, occasionally knocking good surfers off their boards at Angourie. I’m both proud and ashamed to admit that one of these incidents left me with a kind of large dent in my leg, and the surfer’s board a little smashed up on the rocks. While there, I went to a film presentation in a scout hall (Crystal Voyager of course), by a guy who’d done his PhD on surfing. That PhD thing sounded pretty good to me – and it’s just hit me that this might have led me to become an academic.

Of course, as most people seem to know, the academic surf has been pretty flat for while. Hopefully some decent sets coming through soon.