The Appropriation of a Digitally-Augmented Agora: Field Study of the Structuration and Spatialization of an Issue Public in Urban Space

Authors

  • Claude Fortin School of Interactive Arts & Technology, Simon Fraser University
  • Kate Hennessy School of Interactive Arts & Technology, Simon Fraser University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.22230/cjc.2015v40n4a2926

Keywords:

Ethnographic field study, Interactive digital technology, Appropriation, Public space, Critical theory

Abstract

In 2013, we conducted a ten-week qualitative field evaluation of an interactive public space art installation. During these three months, we observed a vast array of examples of how the general public appropriated this technological artifact and the public space in which it was deployed. This article draws on Mosco’s political economy of communication framework to examine how one specific issue public—composed of several different groups actively engaged against police misconduct and brutality—creatively made use of Mégaphone in conjunction with online media to self-report, self-represent, and self-publish alternative and oppositional views around incidents of police abuses of power. In doing so, we explore how structuration, spatialization, and commodification might offer critical perspectives on interactive urban technologies.

Nous avons effectué en 2013 une étude de terrain pendant dix semaines dans le but d’évaluer une installation numérique interactive déployée en espace public. Lors de cette étude qualitative, nous avons pu observer comment les passants s’appropriaient à la fois la technologie et l’espace. En s’inspirant du cadre théorique de Mosco sur l’économie politique de la communication, cet article analyse comment certains membres d’un public constitué autour du problème de la brutalité policière ont utilisé Mégaphone en relai avec l’Internet pour mettre en exergue, présenter et auto-publier leurs témoignages livrés en opposition et en marge des idées reçues. Ce faisant, cette étude vise à soutenir une réflexion sur l’application empirique de la structuration, la spatialisation et la marchandisation en rapport avec les technologies urbaines interactives.

Author Biographies

Claude Fortin, School of Interactive Arts & Technology, Simon Fraser University

Claude Fortin is a doctoral candidate and researcher affiliated with the Making Culture Lab at Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts & Technology in Surrey, BC. Email: cfortin@sfu.ca.

Kate Hennessy, School of Interactive Arts & Technology, Simon Fraser University

Dr. Kate Hennessy is the Director of the Making Culture Lab and an Assistant Professor specializing in Media Anthropology at Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts & Technology. Email: hennessy_kate@sfu.ca

 

Published

2015-11-11