CIM Seminar: Bodies, Rhythms and Mediation
July 8th, 3:30-5:30, S2.84, Social Sciences Building
The Geographies of Gaming Rhythms
Thomas Apperley, University of New South Wales, Australia
This paper explores the cultural re-mappings that occur through transnational digital gaming networks. While the emergence of global gaming networks—Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, various MMORPGs—in the past decade suggests the possibility of multiplayer digital games producing globally scaled synchronous play, these global gaming networks produce predominantly localized, but transnational, networks that are sorted by cyclic, circadian and cosmic rhythms. Using Gunbound: World Champion as a case study, this paper argues that digital gaming networks are organised around mundane local concerns, in relation to larger global rhythms. However, this suggests a vertical realignment of geographies through networked digital play in the Australian context, consequently these networks indicate that real-time gaming cultures produce and emphasise a north-south connection that aligns Australian and Asian gaming cultures.
Bio: Tom Apperley, Ph.D. is an ethnographer that specializes in researching digital media technologies. His previous writing has covered broadband policy, digital games, digital literacies and pedagogies, mobile media, and social inclusion. Tom is currently a Senior Lecturer at the University of New South Wales, Australia, where he convenes the Masters degree in Public Relations and Advertising. He is the editor of the open-access peer-reviewed journal, Digital Culture & Education, his open-access print-on-demand book Gaming Rhythms: Play and Counterplay from the Situated to the Global, was published by The Institute of Network Cultures in 2010. Tom’s more recent work has appeared in Digital Creativity, eLearning and Digital Media, and Westminster Papers in Culture and Communication.
Toddlers, Touchscreens, and Parental Intermediation on YouTube
Bjorn Nansen, University of Melbourne, Australia
This paper addresses the relationship between childhood and digital culture through an analyses of online videos and associated comments of very young children playing with mobile and touch-screen devices. I investigate the ways children’s use of these interfaces is both understood and shaped by parents through the production, sharing and discussion of YouTube videos. This analysis is situated in relation to literature on parental mediation, which is a key theme of research on children’s media that focuses on the ways parents regulate their children’s use of media such as television and video games.
I argue that when parents participate in producing and sharing online videos of their children interacting with touch-screens and apps that their operation is less an authority moderating media use and more a cultural intermediary modulating children’s media culture. I suggest that if we are to adequately account for these expanded contexts and networks of digital parenting that parental mediation be reconsidered through the concept of intermediation. Intermediation – a concept borrowed from Katherine Hayles and her analysis of digital texts – can be usefully translated into this context to help account for the entanglement of media, bodies and discourses assembling children’s touch-screen play and media culture. These modes of parental intermediation also help to destabilise competing claims to ‘naturalness’ located with the interface or the infant.
Bio: Dr Bjorn Nansen holds an Australian Research Council funded Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) in the Department of Computing and Information Systems at the University of Melbourne. He is a researcher of digital media, interaction and culture, primarily in domestic and family contexts. He has published over 30 papers on topics relating to household technology appropriation, broadband policy, family and childrens media use, domestic screen ecologies, gestural interfaces and the design of tangible technologies, ethnographic and mobile research methods, and critical theory of technology.