<<<bernhard loibner>>> on 13 Nov 2000 08:09:22 -0000


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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Cellphones and the Cancer of Cellspace


> It would surprise me very much if they were truly unconscious of their
> appearance.  Most of them seem to be ultra-conscious about every other
> aspect of their appearance: hair, makeup, clothes, shoes, walk, facial
> expression.  The same is true, I think, in New York, London, and Paris:
> most people work very hard at the image that they project to strangers.
> They are *always* on stage, especially when walking down the street.
> This is why fashion is such big business in these cities. Advertising is
> full of images of strangers admiring people who have bought the product
> advertised.  This is connected with your point; in an urban landscape that
> makes people feel unimportant and perhaps even nonexistent, fashion is an
> attempt to say: "I exist!  I am important!" And I think that the mobile
> phone is certainly part of this; it says, "I am important, and the proof
> is that other people urgently need to talk to me; they can't wait until I
> get home."


I think it is fairly naive to see mobile phones as a fashion accessory
and people who use it as addicted to consumerism. In an environment with
a saturation of cell phones as high as in most european countries it is
hardly an item suitable for elitism or avantgarde of any kind. 

 
> Surely we cannot take this at face value.  A century ago, people managed
> to have rich social lives without any telephones at all.  My grandparents
> (who were born in the first decade of the 20th century) had a dense
> network of social relations, consisting of friends and relatives, in an
> urban environment.  Today, we're used to a level of isolation and
> rootlessness which makes the social fabric of 1900 hard to imagine.  As
> loneliness increases, the desire to deny loneliness, to pretend it isn't
> there, increases as well.  Hence the mobile phone.


What's more intersting to me about the wide spread use of mobile phones
and SMS is the way social behaviour changes. It creates some sort of
urban "on-the-fly" culture were meetings are set up within minutes and
hardly planned in advance. Of course it also creates pressure to
participate by owning such a device.

b.


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