Jesse Jarnow

on cell cams at shows, cont: western keitai

In the introduction to Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life, a fascinating collection of academic essays (mostly translated from Japanese), Mizuko Ito defines keitai networks:

In contrast to the cellular phone of the United States (defined by technical infrastructure), and the mobile of the United Kingdom (defined by the untethering from fixed location) (Kotamraju and Wakeford 2002), the Japanese term keitai (roughly translated, “something you carry with you”) references a somewhat different set of dimensions. A keitai is not so much about a new technical capability or freedom of motion but about a snug and intimate technosocial tethering, a personal device supporting communications that are a constant, lightweight, and mundane presence in everyday life.

Maybe, the relentless clicking of cell cams at shows constitutes part of what might be described as Western keitai. That is, along with mp3s both financially and corporeally devaluing recorded music, it is possible that concerts are slipping into the realm of the day-to-day. Taking pictures, then, isn’t an attempt to capture anything momentous, but to simply mark the occasion, like a diary entry. And, sure, maybe that’s a defiling of live music as sacred ritual/spectacle, yadda yadda yadda, but it’s probably time for a change, anyway. Wouldn’t wanna be late for the future, after all.

1 Comment

  1. kevin r hollo says: - reply

    i think as we move forward into this future of the present tense, the image will come to mean more than the word. that is, language will stop being so tethered to the sign, and free itself more and more eventually relinquishing it’s anchor once and for all. this is all reflected in the grounding you’re talking about, the need to record, the diaristic notion of the mundane as event. these are groundings similar to the blogosphere, a universe sized (oxymoron? always growing?) untethered network but maybe untethered is the wrong word here. how about floating anchor? i see the relationship with the screen and the image playing out in accordance to ideas promulgated by lev manovich, kate hayles, etc, but also in accordance with the cultural need for grounding while in the air. we like to be inside the ship, not floating outside grasping at lines.
    the cell phone is one node of this network, the ipod another, i want to carry my universe with me in my pocket. the universe behind the screen is like a woobie or a blankie that is quickly elevating itself to oedipal status.