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Vol. 1. No. 1, 2015

Urte Undine Frömming, Steffen Köhn, Mike Terry (eds.)

Researching Mobile Media Technology

Researching Mobile Media Technology is the very first special issue of the Journal of Visual and Media Anthropology, a brand new peer-reviewed open-access journal dedicated to research on digital environments and cultures, the impact of new media on expressions of self and social formations, the theory and practice of ethnographic filmmaking, and the study of online-and offline visual worlds. The journal is a venture of our Research Area Visual and Media Anthropology. It will present work that self-consciously experiments with innovative modes of representation, new forms of integrating written and multi-media ethnography and therefore seeks to challenge the conventions of academic publishing. With this initial special issue,we want to feature fresh and timely research by young scholars from the Master’s Program in Visual and Media Anthropology. Their work is concerned with the rise of mobile technology and apps culture and their influence on self-presentation and social relations in the digital age.

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Aging on WeChat: a Study of Social Media Impact Elderly in Urban China - Ke Yun

This paper explores the impact of the Chinese instant messaging application WeChat that became very popular among elderly people in urban China. It is passed on interviews with 20 people research participants in the age group between 60 and 75 as well as their adult children. It examines how WeChat improved the relationships between the parents generation over 60 and their adult kids.

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Immersion - Pia Ilonka Schenk

This film is a self-reflexive experiential documentary on Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR), and in particular on the Oculus Rift gadget, which permits the user to immerse him- or herself in a 3D high definition environment. It pictures what we are to expect from the virtual realm in the near future.

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Real World Repercussions of Motivation and Interactions in a Virtual Space Explored in Relation to the Body and Self - Melody Howse

This article is based on research among users of “Daily Mile”, an online fitness community whose members use wearables for tracking of their movements, especially during running and cycling. The visual part of the project is a short film that provides a poetic ethnography of the new cultural practices of forming around such wearable teachnology.

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Mile - Melody Howse

Machinima and visual interpretation of an online experience of motivation.

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Underneath the Shieldshaped Mountain, the Helicopter and the Sun. A visual ethnography with the children in Kulusuk, East Greenland - Jóhanna Björk Sveinbjörndóttir

This paper is based on a participatory smartphone video ethnography with children in Kulusuk, East Greenland. It discusses short video stories (which the children of Kulusuk created with their smartphones in a workshop with the anthropologist), that give insights into the life of children in athe small village in East Greenland. Furthermore, the videos they, produced with their smartphones, devices establish a new arena of for story telling in Greenland with the use of that is completely mediated by mobile technology.

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Virtual Balikbayan Box - Lola Abrera

This collaborative film project conveys the experiences of female OFWs who work as caregivers or domestic workers abroad. A “Balikbayan box” is a kind of a care package, a corrugated box overseas Filipinos send to their loved ones containing presents and sundry goods. These boxes are the prime symbol for the transnational existence many Filipino families share. The filmmaker invited the participants of her film to contribute through mobile phone video diaries, pictures, artworks, and even Facebook messages sent to the Virtual Balikbayan Box Facebook page.

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Self-Pornographic Representations with Grindr - Christian Phillips

This article presents research amongst gay users of Grinder, a gay dating application. It examines how connecting online – either with the use of dating portals or mobile apps – affects the way people interact sexually. It analyses the erotic selfportrait, taken with smartphone or a webcam, as a central means of communication within these new dating apps. 

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The Voice of the People - Kin Lok Wong

This film documents how the protests of the ‘Umbrella Movement’ in Hong Kong have inspired new forms of resistance in online communities. The filmmaker interviews various activists who use humor and satire to raise their voice politically within the virtual realm.

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#StopDesahucios. Techno-Political Activism in the Spanish Movement against Housing Eviction - Teresa Tiburcio Jiménez

This paper examines aspects of techno-political activism in the Spanish movement against housing evictions. It is based on fieldwork within meetings in Madrid as well as on qualitative structured and semi-structured interviews online on the digital Plataforma de Afectados contra la Hipoteca (PAH - movement of mortgage victims).

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