Prosthetic perceptions and invisible architectures
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This thesis develops an analytical investigation into mobile communications technologies and their defining nature within our cities and society. The work revolves around two primary contingencies: the exploration of wireless networks as ephemeral architectures which have come to invisibly occupy and refine spatial relationships and the emergence of mobile communications devices as prosthetic sensory apparatuses which allow for the perception of these invisible landscapes. The embedded sensors in mobile devices are used within the project to translate information about encompassing wireless networks into experiential phenomena, extending their roles as not only tools for the consumption of information, but for inscribing a level of tangibility to the biologically imperceptible landscapes of wireless networks. Mobile devices are utilized throughout the project to develop mappings of wireless networks of several varieties including responsive audio outputs to index the materiality of wireless networks, generative audio compilations which index the embedded protocol for information exchange within the network, live aerial mappings as a part of an installation indexing the ephemeral nature of geolocation processes, and video compilations which simulate this relationship between location and locating and the emergence of a doppelganger effect. Concentric to the notions of computational prosthetics, written portions of the work investigate the ways in which mobile communications devices may allude to an emergent posthumanism. The project itself may be seen as materializing the intangible qualities of immaterial constructions through developing the spatial qualities of wireless networks as experiential phenomena. With this, mobile communications devices focus the thesis on the continued tension between a posthuman emergence and a diminishing state of embodiment. In a sense, the thesis seeks to invert the invisibilities of evolving communication networks (which may range from material, to social and political inferences) within a contemporary society while asking: in what ways might an inscribed tangibility of these networks come to refine the ways in which we perceive, evaluate, and design their spaces?