Precarious Flux


Session Title:

  • Changing Perspectives on Digital Media in Global Age

Presentation Title:

  • Precarious Flux




  • The Design disciplines have traditionally not been concerned with representing complexity or mirroring the precariousness nature of our existence. Rather, many designers tie themselves to the noble urge to serve society, to assist and simplify rather than to provoke. Within Western cultures, the living conditions of our reality, the ‘practical reality’ (Huizinga 1938), has changed significantly. It may not be a co-incidence that even Design has moved away from an industrial to human (emotive) centred approach.

    In 2006 Jenkins observed a move towards a participatory rather than transactory culture in which play was becoming a default method in engagement and knowledge attainment. The assertion of the knowledge economy over the information society gives further weight to the argument that contemporary media literacy requires an increasingly more complex and fluid approach from the participant (Thomas et.?al. 2007).

    Supporting this Antonelli (2008) states “… core human experience is rendered more urgent by the speed at which technology is moving” and that we “…routinely live at different scales, in different contexts, and at different settings – Default, Phone-only, Avatar On, Everything Off on a number of screens, each with its own size, interface, and resolution, and across several time zones.” This agility to move between interfaces, resolutions and time zones potentially equates to a new form of expertise, a new commodity.

    In my paper I will discuss the changes in our practical reality and how this affects our sense of identity, self and what is authentic. In setting the context the paper will contrast and explore our quotidian living via social network services, email and video chat with emergent forms of escape and release such as Augmented Reality Games (Year Zero 2007, Conspiracy For Good 2010) and provocative Digital Art (Vested 2009). The paper will go on to posit that we exist in an increasingly precarious conceptual space (Foster 2009) and that both applied and artistic practices are striving to express what constitutes a core human experience and developing methods to survive within our fluctuating context of extraordinary change.

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