( via smartmobs )
Francois Bar, who has been doing fascinating work with Francis Pisani on appropriation of phone technology, reports on Sao Paolo’s “motoboy ethnographers.”
Earlier this year, 12 motorcycle couriers in São Paulo started using camera-phones to chronicle their daily lives. They get together periodically to discuss each other’s finds and decide collectively what stories they want to cover. The result is Canal*MOTOBOY, a real-time account of life on the Paulista streets. This is part of “Colectivos transmiten desde teléfonos moviles” at zexe.net, and the motoboys are simply the latest addition to a growing network of “citizen ethnographers”. They join 17 taxi drivers in Mexico City, 25 young gitanos in Leida, and 16 in Leon, 10 prostitutes in Madrid, 40 people with disabilities in Barcelona, and 19 immigrants from Nicaragua in Costa Rica.
Filed under: ethnography, research, urban
December 22, 2006 • 12:22 pm
Jan Chipchase is a canny observer of communication practices who roams the world as an anthropologist for Nokia. His current report, with Indri Tulusan, is on mobile phone sharing — an important socio-technical practice, especially in the developing world.
Much of the growth in the telecommunications industry is coming from emerging markets – places like India and Africa and for many new consumers their first mobile phone experience is a shared one. This essay uses the term sharing in the sense of primary usage orientated around borrowing and lending rather than ‘let me show you the photos I took at last night’s party’. Mobile phone sharing is not just limited to personal use – from the streets of Cairo to Kampala kiosks are springing up with little more than a mobile phone and a sign advertising call rates. What happens when people share an object that is inherently designed for personal use? And based on how and why people share in what ways can devices and services be redesigned to optimise the shared user experiences? Indeed, should they be re-designed?
A summary of this essay appears here and a presentation that compliments this essay entitled Shared Phone Practices: Exploratory Field Research from Uganda and Beyond can be downloaded from the resesarch dot Nokia dot com site here [7MB, PowerPoint]. In time, related posts on Power Up: Street Charging Services in Kampala, Rural Charging Services, Community Address Books & Call Logs and the Village Phone, Uganda will be listed here.
Filed under: ethnography, research, technology
/ Documentary gives unique angle on war
A buzz-generating documentary opening today in the Bay Area presents a new way to approach the national conversation about the Iraq war, a debate that often gets derailed over whether the real story is being told there.
The filmmaker’s solution: Give video cameras to the soldiers on the ground and let them roll tape for a year, nearly uncensored.
The result is “The War Tapes,” a 94-minute film culled from 1,100 hours of footage, which is revolutionary on several levels. Not only is the film created in the same raw, user-generated manner that is powering the explosion of blogs and video-sharing sites on the Internet, it is bypassing the traditional media gatekeepers who some soldiers — and, for different reasons, anti-war activists — think are not telling the war’s true stories.
Filed under: ethnography, research