Mobile Interface Theory
Embodied Space and Locative Media
By Jason Farman
Routledge – 2011 – 172 pages
Mobile media – from mobile phones to smartphones to netbooks – are transforming our daily lives. We communicate, we locate, we network, we play, and much more using our mobile devices. In Mobile Interface Theory, Jason Farman demonstrates how the worldwide adoption of mobile technologies is causing a reexamination of the core ideas about what it means to live our everyday lives. He argues that mobile media’s pervasive computing model, which allows users to connect and interact with the internet while moving across a wide variety of locations, has produced a new sense of self among users – a new embodied identity that stems from virtual space and material space regularly enhancing, cooperating or disrupting each other. Exploring a range of mobile media practices – including mobile maps and GPS technologies, location-aware social networks, urban and alternate reality games that use mobile devices, performance art, and storytelling projects – Farman illustrates how mobile technologies are changing the ways we produce lived, embodied spaces.
"Working deftly at the intersection of poststructuralism and phenomenology, Jason Farman develops the concept of the ‘sensory-inscribed’ body to discuss embodiment through and within mobile interfaces. Enlivened with personal anecdotes, his accessible and theoretically savvy writing provides essential guidance to the effects that mobile media are having on important contemporary issues, from ethical quandaries to geospatial reconfigurations of social relationships." —N. Katherine Hayles, Professor of Literature, Duke University
"This luminously theorized, beautifully written book provides the first comprehensive account of locative mobile media. Jason Farman offers us a distinctive, philosophically attuned perspective on the great cultural technology of our time—tracing the new relations among bodies, space, and culture." —Gerard Goggin, Professor of Media and Communications, University of Sydney
"Farman's Mobile Interface Theory is the first [book] that focuses completely on theory for mobile media, and, in doing so, provides an excellent foundation for all of us interested in this area of media scholarship." —Dene Grigar, Washington State University Vancouver, in Leonardo Reviews
"Farman’s text represents an ambitiously thoughtful and well-written attempt to understand locative media in terms of embodied experience." —Dan Hassoun, University of Minnesota, in The International Journal of Communication
WINNER OF THE 2012 ASSOCIATION OF INTERNET RESEARCHERS BOOK AWARD: "[Mobile Interface Theory] has the potential to inform new scholarship, re-set directions, and remind us that, now, the Internet is not somewhere else, but right here, in our pockets, our minds, our places." —AoIR Book Award Committee
"Mobile Interfaces in Public Spaces…would work…well as a foundational text in a course on mobile theories…[and] would likely be of interest to those seeking a richer theoretical understanding of how we experience space and time in an increasingly networked world." - Ryan S. Eanes, University of Oregon, USA
Introduction: The Pathways of Locative Media 1. Embodiment and the Mobile Interface 2. Mapping and Representations of Space 3. Locative Interfaces and Social Media 4. The Ethics of Immersion in Locative Games 5. Performances of Asynchronous Time 6. Site-Specific Storytelling and Reading Interfaces 7. Conclusion: Movement/Progress/Obsolescence: On the Politics of Mobility
Jason Farman is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park in the Department of American Studies and a Distinguished Faculty Fellow in the Digital Cultures and Creativity Program. He received his Ph.D. in Performance Studies and Digital Media from the University of California, Los Angeles. Farman's research focuses on embodied space in the digital age, including studies of mobile media, mapping technologies, videogames, digital storytelling, social media, digital performance art, and surveillance.