Mobile Screens

Mobile Screens: The Visual Regime of Navigation

Nanna Verhoeff
Series: MediaMatters
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 212
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  • Book Info
    Mobile Screens
    Book Description:

    As far as interaction with screens is concerned, the given technology of particular interactive devices entails an ambiguous status of screens: what is shown on the screen has to do with how one interacts with it, that is, we can almost literally see what we are doing. This study is devoted to a theoretical exploration of intersections between mobility and visuality from a historical-comparative perspective, addressing the mobility of visual experience and the screen-based access to such experiences in a range of case studies. The author develops the concept through five chapters and analyzes a variety of contemporary screen technologies and the cultural practices involving these screen-based configurations - the ways in which we engage with screens as interfaces with spatial, temporal, and haptic experiences. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1526-4
    Subjects: Technology, Film Studies
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. 1-6)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. 7-8)
  3. Acknowledgements (pp. 9-10)
  4. List of Illustrations (pp. 11-12)
  5. Introduction (pp. 13-26)

    Screens are ubiquitous in urban visual culture – colossal screen façades, mobile phones, television sets, game consoles. The architecture and spaces in which we operate are infused with screen technologies. This study explores the connections between two predominant characteristics of contemporary culture at play in the omnipresence of screen technologies and practices. These are visuality on the one hand, and mobility on the other. Together, this conceptual and spatial configuration forms what I propose to call a visual regime of navigation, a guiding principle in how, especially but not exclusively at a certain time in history, we interact with screen interfaces....

  6. 1. Panoramic Complex (pp. 27-50)

    Let me begin with the contemporary. To be specific, we start out in the Netherlands at the turn of the twenty-first century, with an experience most of my readers will be familiar with. In 1999, during a provocative speech for the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, Francine Houben introduced the concept of theaesthetics of mobilityas a new principle for spatial planning. Houben, architect and professor of architecture and mobility aesthetics at Delft University of Technology, pleaded for what she called an aesthetic rather than exclusively functional approach to designing roads and the spatial concerns...

  7. 2. Self-Reflection (pp. 51-72)

    Self-reflection in media offers insights into how a culture sees itself; that is why it matters. As a dominant trope in modern visual culture, at moments of transition, emerging or transforming screen media often self-reflect on the virtual mobility that the new media enable for its users. More specifically, in the following I will argue that today’s media’s self-reflections insist that navigation is effectively the primary paradigm driving digital screen media. This primacy of navigation entails more fundamental positions regarding the relations between our culture’s predominant modes of address: narrative and spectacle. Both modes are centered on sense-making: from making...

  8. 3. Theoretical Consoles (pp. 73-98)

    Theoretical objects are things that compel us to propose, interrogate and theorize. They counter the influence of approaches that try to define, position and fix. The handheld, mobile screen offers us a specific kind of theoretical object. Smartphones and tablet computers are a rapidly developing type of screen object. Hybrid screen devices that encompass multiple interfaces, they raise questions about the specificity of the screen gadget as object, and about the entanglement of technologies, applications and practices. Moreover, the very speed of the development of this type of technological object demands an assessment of their historicity: how can we understand...

  9. 4. Urban Screens (pp. 99-132)

    I ended the first chapter of this book with an injunction to consider the aesthetic qualities of the moving image as guidelines for the design of spatial arrangements as the scripting of perceptual experience. That general point was meant to connect the everyday mobility of people moving through space to a problematic of mobility as an aesthetic practice of performative visuality. Diachronically, this study builds on both continuities and contrasts between historical moments. In this chapter I look at mobility and vision in this combination of everyday efficacy and aesthetic experience, from the other end of that two-way street: the...

  10. 5. Performative Cartography (pp. 133-166)

    Throughout this book I am concerned with the visual regime of navigation, that is, a specific mode of interaction at the intersection of visuality and mobility. My ambition has been to use a comparative diachronic perspective to approach various screen arrangements and screen practices, focusing on their hybrid status as part of a dispositif (viewing arrangement) that provides particular rules of engagement in a visual regime of navigation. As I have argued, screens are sites of innovation and change, but also historically constant in that they space mobility, albeit mobilities of different kinds. Unlike forms of historical research that establish...

  11. Epilogue: You Are Here! (pp. 167-170)

    From navigation as a screen practice to navigation as an analytical practice: the project of a comparative analysis, both historical and theoretical, of screen media compels us to rethink not only present-day media practices but our way of thinking about these practices in terms of what they mean. When our focus is more on the movements and inscriptions of media than on particular texts, our thinking about the issues entails different questions, concepts, and perspectives: a different epistemology. In other words, not only does the location or site-specificity of screens and the locating of screens affect media practices, but also...

  12. Notes (pp. 171-180)
  13. Bibiliography (pp. 181-198)
  14. Index of Names and Titles (pp. 199-202)
  15. Index of Terms (pp. 203-212)


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