"Kinetic Screens: Epistemologies of Movement at the Interface"
Lisa Parks
Assistant Professor, Film Studies
This talk will explore how the meanings of movement, motion and mobility are changing with the emergence of the wireless economy and the convergence of transportation and media technologies. Euphoric notions of techno-nomadism often equate mediated movement with a kind of pure freedom and incipient liberation. I posit a continuum of motion with transcendence on the one end and incarceration on the other. New wireless technologies "free" the worker spatially from the workplace while "exploiting" his/her time in transit, encouraging us to imagine every place as a workplace and every bodily movement as an opportunity for economic extraction. The interface works to territorialize the mobile subject by superimposing his/her trajectory upon a geographic map, making the user's movement visible either as unfettered digital navigation (speedy connectivity) or as a failure of motion, a located communication breakdown. I will also examine a more figurative form of movement -- that of digital translation. Some websites now enable the user to simply click to generate translations in different languages and thus seamlessly "move" through cultures, ostensibly reducing the complexities, frictions, and nuances of embodied transport between languages and cultures. It might, in other words, conceal the physical and psychic obstacles that are often in place when one moves from one place to another - whether state borders, collective memories/traumas, or digital firewalls.