Posts Tagged ‘cyborgs’

The Facebook half-billion: interconnection, infrastructure, anthropocentrism

Friday, July 30th, 2010

I find last week’s news that facebook has reached the milestone of 500 million subscribers interesting for several reasons. (more…)

Imagining urban cataclysm

Monday, November 16th, 2009
On Thursday and Friday (19th & 20th November) I will be at the World Politics and Popular Culture conference organised by Newcastle University Politics staff Simon Philpott, Matt Davies and Kyle Grayson. The conference will explore the manner in which

popular culture become[s] a series of sites at which political meaning is made, where political contestation takes place and where political orthodoxy is reproduced and challenged

I will be giving a paper entitled Zombies and flesh eaters: imagining urban cataclysm in the era of metropolitanisation.

The paper will discuss the relation between the politics of global urbanisation and representations of urban cataclysm in the film 28 Days Later, video game Resident Evil; and Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road. I argue that novels, films and games are textual artefacts embedded in complex assemblages of things, signs, meanings and affects. As such they are mutually imbricated with the dynamics of delineation and contestation we refer to as ‘politics’.

The paper discusses two particular ideas arising from a reading of these texts:

28 Days Later Poster
The Road


Mobile Infrastrucures of Metropolitanisation

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

The Guardian today has an interesting report on the global penetration of mobile telephony and broadband internet (‘Africa calling: mobile phone usage sees record rise after huge investment‘). Perhaps the most striking statistic is that ‘[o]n average there are now 60 mobile subscriptions for every 100 people in the world’. However, it is also worth noting the phenomenal growth of mobile phone usage in Africa (550% in the last 5 years). It is worth highlighting the services that are made available through mobile phones in the developing world:

Popular mobile services include money transfers, allowing people without bank accounts to send money by text message. Many farmers use mobiles to trade and check market prices.

Elsewhere I have written about the way in which communications infrastructures are constitutive of contemporary urbanised ways of life. These figures – and the manner in which mobile phones have become integral to accessing vital services – reaffirm this point.

What is interesting, however, is the manner in which the mobile phone is a flexible, rather than static, infrastructure. (more…)