Centre for Material Digital Culture

The Tablet Symposium

Archive: The Symposium was held on 10th April 2013 

Hosted by the Centre for Material Digital Culture,

 

Description

The aim of the symposium is twofold. On the one hand it aims to examine questions about the take up of tablets, readers and ipads across many walks of life including academic, artistic, pedagogical, medical, corporate, activist and everyday contexts. On the other hand it aims to create a space of dialogue, discussion and research community across this area.
Contributors:

Ruth Adams, King’s College London.  
Tipu’s Tiger: Killer App?

Caroline Bassett, University of Sussex
Mostly Unreliable?: A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Re-invention of the Book

Clair Battison & Louise Egan, Victoria and Albert Museum
The Distance Between Us: Incorporating the advancements of touchscreen technology into current museum touring exhibition practices.

Ryan Burns, University of Sussex
Tablets: Specific, Generic, Perfect?

Ryan Eanes, University of Oregon
Magic, rhetoric and the iPad

Mick Feltham, University of Sussex
Touch: Sensitive? Democratising the Composer - Performer - Listener Triangle within the Digital Score.

Mareike Glӧss, Uppsala University                                                                                                                                                                                      
Ubiquitous Computing at  our Fingertips: Everyday  Practices  and  Experiences  in  the  Context  of Tablet Computing

Daniel Goodbrey, University of Hertfordshire 
Game Comics: An Analysis of An Emergent Hybrid Form

Ian Grant, University of Sussex
Touch as puppetry: Achieving Subtle and Nuanced Performance Through Tangible Touch Interfaces

Caroline Hamilton, University of Melbourne, Gerard Goggin, University of Sydney
Off the shelf: How e-readers recapitulate books multi-function pasts

Timo Kaerlein, University of Paderborn 
Touching the Screen: Immediacy and discrepancy in the use of tablet computers

Hannah Lee, The American University of Paris, Thomas Young, The American University of Paris, Claudia Roda, The American University of Paris
E-Book Usability: Reading Time and Comprehension

Jeremy Matthew, King’s College London
Tablet Edition: Public Habits and uses of The Mobile Internet and online News Media.

Nadja Ryzhakova, iPad Artist
Reinventing Painting: the Relationship Between Tradition and Technology in the Age of Mobile Devices

Russell Pearce, University of Sussex
Title tbc

Nicola Yuill, University of Sussex, Yvonne Rogers, University College London, Jochen Rick, Saarland University, Stefan Kreitmayer, Open University
Pass the iPad: Tablet Computers  for Collaborative Creating and Sharing in Groups at Home and School

 

Abstracts

Ruth Adams, King’s College London.  
Tipu’s Tiger: Killer App?

This paper takes as its focus one of the most popular objects in the V&A Museum, ‘Tipu’s Tiger’, a late-18th century musical organ from India, in the shape of a tiger mauling a British soldier.  In particular, it considers its recent use in the Museum’s marketing and merchandising strategies, as an iPhone ‘app’ -http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/t/tipus-itiger/  

In many ways the Tiger is ideally suited to this, given its broad aesthetic appeal and the opportunities for interactivity that the technology affords; the app provides a virtual solution to some of the problems of accessibility that are often inevitable with fragile historical objects.  This usage, however, also raises problems and questions.  Does presenting the artifact in this way trivialize it?  Can an app effectively convey the context of colonial brutality that shaped the circumstances of the Tiger’s acquisition?  What ethical questions are raised by this mode of commodification of museum holdings?  Is the app merely an animated postcard, or does the virtual, dematerialized souvenir represent a paradigm shift?  Does it pose a challenge to the very purpose and essence of museums, which is, Root (1996) argues, grounded in the ‘the primacy of the authentic object, which is believed to provide an experience that a reproduction cannot.’  Or should it be regarded, as Klaus Müller (2002) suggests, as a means to facilitate participation and ‘as illuminating the potential meanings of art and other objects’ in a new and potentially less ideologically fraught and over-determined space?   


Caroline Bassett, University of Sussex
Mostly Unreliable?: A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Re-invention of the Book

This paper tells one story of how the iPad came to be, arguing that it is productive to understand it, not as the latest in a long line of  convergence devices, but as a new stage in the on-going re-invention of the book. 

The paper draws on collaborative work considering the links between science fiction and science and technology innovation (undertaken with Ed Steinmueller and George Voss). This work argued that the relationship between SF and the real world should be characterized in terms of mutual influence (for instance in contrast to a model focussed on fictional invention and subsequent exploitation). 

Amongst the pathways of influence selected for closer inspection in order to instantiate that assertion were those linking Douglas Adams’ fictional Hitchhiker’s Guide (to the Galaxy) to the Apple iPad. There is a folk history that explains this relationship in terms of fictional invention preceding material instantiation – it says, more or less, that Adams’ invented the iPad (although he died before it could be realized as a device). Our investigations suggested rather a relationship of mutual informing: there were material, human, symbolic, industrial and other forms of engagement and exchange between Adams and his ideas and the technology industry (Apple in particular) over a period key in the development of tablet technology.

Looking at this engagement more closely – considering its materiality, its impact, and its direction, might enable us to consider the iPad as it emerges today in new ways. Notably it invites an exploration of the tablet as part of the on-going process of the re-invention of the book (rather than, for instance as an evolution in telephony or computing). It is also argued that a return to consider fictional elements of a device’s history may complicate accounts of real world innovation (often retrospectively framed as a struggle towards a desired object) by revealing moments of ambivalence or hostility. It is salutary to remember that the final fictional appearance of the Guide in print (in the novel Mostly Harmless) is in an upgraded and immensely more powerful version of the earlier ‘rough’ guide  - one which is also immensely more destructive and no longer appears to have its user’s interests at heart….


Clair Battison & Louise Egan, Victoria and Albert Museum
The Distance Between Us: Incorporating the advancements of touchscreen technology into current museum touring exhibition practices.

Even those of us with a limited understanding of technology recognise how the accessibility of digital assets has effectively enhanced efficiencies in the way we work. The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) has a very demanding exhibition schedule. Any collection object leaving the Museum, either on loan or as part of a touring exhibition, is accompanied by documentation essential for its safe transit and smooth installation/de-installation at subsequent venues. This information is collated in hard copy from a cross-section of departments within the Museum. Required documentation includes: condition reports, packing notes, mounting notes, display requirements and crate lists. For touring exhibitions, involving hundreds of objects, the quantity of this documentation becomes excessive. In-house experimentation with an iPad has revealed the advantages of using such technology to store and document necessary information- initially by recording good quality images and taking advantage of the zoom capabilities. However, because an app would not allow for cross platform information sharing with the V&A Collection Management System (which is essential in ensuring both access and data entry to all key areas of collection information), a consistency could not be maintained. The solution for generating and working with courier documentation using digital devices would ideally avoid the duplication of tasks noticeable in current procedures.  Efficiencies with data entry and document creation, image clarity and mobility when inputting data into documents (both at the V&A and when travelling and installing/de-installing exhibitions) would also be improved. By taking advantage of ever-improving technological advancements while at the same time recognising established museum systems the opportunity exists to improve this process and other working practices.


Ryan Burns, University of Sussex
Tablets: Specific, Generic, Perfect?

Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in 2012 and analyses of tablet computers in popular culture, I argue that the tablet is portrayed as a perfect device: able to do anything.  I explain firstly how this perception operates, and secondly why this perception might have cultural currency in a technological society.   

Firstly, to explain how tablets are perceived as perfect devices, I analyse tablets users’ definitions of what a tablet computer is.  Users in my fieldwork study typically regarded the tablet as the material device itself, and regarded its immaterial aspects such as an Internet connection and apps as external to, or not really part of, the device.  This meant that tablets were seen as simultaneous generic (the device) and specific (the apps).  The tablet device itself was repeatedly seen to be flawless, and the many problems encountered in using tablets were blamed on external factors such as Internet connectivity and availability or usefulness of apps.  Crucially, these external factors were regarded as beyond the device’s control, allowing the device to retain its status as infallible or perfect. 

Secondly, to offer a critique and explanation as to why this perception has cultural currency, I parody the idea of tablets as perfect.  This type of analysis supplements political economy critiques of tablets, such as Gregg (2011: 190) who argues that the use of tablets and smartphones is a manifestation of personal productivity in an information economy, and Disco who describes electronic organisers and similar devices as “productivity enhancers” (2005: 31). 

I argue that tablets are indeed the perfect device.  But not because they are infallible and ‘can do anything’.  Rather, their perfection lies in the fact that they are a perfect manifestation of technological rationality (Feenberg, 2002).  In a technological society, individual technologies can be more or less suitable to their given task, but the broader concept of technology itself is always perfect: individual technologies can be inadequate or badly designed, but technology is infallible. 

I argue that this way of thinking is a cultural norm, and tablet users find it natural to think of their device as perfect because it could do anything they asked of it: if the Internet connection was improved, if that app was invented, if they got used to typing on it and so on.   In a parody of tablet users’ perception of their devices, we can argue that tablets are indeed perfect.  They perpetually fail to achieve their supposed potential, yet they remain perfectly infallible.

Bibliography

DISCO, C. 2005. Back to the Drawing Board: Inventing a Sociology of Technology. In: HARBERS, H. (ed.) Inside the Politics of Technology: Agency and Normativity in the Co-Production of Technology and Society. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

FEENBERG, A. 2002. Transforming technology : a critical theory revisited, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

GREGG, M. 2011. Work's Intimacy, Cambridge, Polity.

 

Ryan Eanes, University of Oregon
Magic, rhetoric and the iPad

From the moment that it was introduced by Apple in April 2010, the iPad has been  marketed as more than just a mobile tablet computer. Apple’s press release touted the device  as “magical and revolutionary” (Apple 2010), with the late Steve Jobs making headlines by  parroting this language (Sutter & Gross 2010). The talismanic powers of the iPad quickly  became apparent to retailers, with small and large stores alike clamoring to stock the tablet in order to drive up sales during a particularly weak period of consumer spending (Learmonth  2010). While the hyperbolic language surrounding the iPad’s introduction could simply be  dismissed as a brilliantly clever marketing ploy, the notion of the iPad as somehow more than  the sum of its parts—that it is, in fact, in some way, “magical”—has persisted nearly three  years after the introduction of the original model.  

What, exactly, is “magic” about the iPad? Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law, as is well  known, states, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”  (1973), but the iPad was initially panned by some critics as nothing more than a “big iPod  touch” (Fox & Albro 2010). Such criticisms call into question the iPad as a particularly  “advanced” device, both in terms of hardware and software. And yet, as Graham notes, our  technological tools seem to be shaping our relationships and evolution as a species as they  grow more complex: “We are increasingly dependent on machines not just for the luxuries of  life but for the very basics of survival” (2009).  

The attribution of magic to a technological device that had been foreshadowed by  science fiction and anticipated for decades—indeed, Steve Jobs himself seemed to point to its future development as early as 1983 (Panzarino 2012)—is perhaps, then, explainable by  increasing imagery and reference to magic and the paranormal in mainstream television,  movies and entertainment (Hill 2011), not to mention mainstream journalists’ willingness to  use language referencing magic in their stories on technology (Stahl 1995).  

This paper will examine the “magical” marketing language that was associated with  the introduction of the iPad in 2010 and places these marketing messages in a cultural and  historical context. Further, it examines how these initial notions of “magicalness” have  persisted through time, and explores whether we are seeing a lexical or ontological shift in  how we approach, understand and discuss technologies today. 


Mick Feltham, University of Sussex
Touch: Sensitive? Democratising the Composer - Performer - Listener Triangle within the Digital Score.

“Musical revolutions are coincident with the breakdown of the lines of communication.” (1)

Taking a proscribed configuration of musical performance in the shape of the composer, performer, listener triangle we see some simple vectors of information flow: from the composer though to the performer to the listener.

As Paul Lansky states:

“Music appreciation mavens used to wield an old saw about the composer-performer-listener triangle. We laughed at its naiveté, but it is a good simple model of a classical notion of musical-social interaction. In this model the composer is genius/author, the performer is genius/servant, and the listener respectfully adores both.  The receiver of the greater glory, either composer or performer, varies from time to time and place to place. “(ibid)

However the inclusion of digital technologies within the score have the potential to completely usurp this model.  Personal digital devices with the ability to transmit data though various protocols (such as WiFi and Bluetooth) mean that the musical ensemble, as a model of the information flow, no longer rules.  In fact the vectors of information flow are now completely reversible and the listener, who once was the passive participant in the musical event could now become composer / performer.

Looking at a particular technology for Apple and Android devices (Touch OSC), I want to outline the issues facing composers, performers and listeners:

  • What sort of probability fields are created?
  • Who is collecting, storing and processing information?
  • How much can the composer still control? (interface / intuitive / parameters / game theory)
  • Is there still a stylistic interpretation to be had from an audience?  (Certainly the case with ad-lib / improvised sections within scores, but what do we know about an audiences's tastes?)
  • Reality / Interactive TV: how this media form can be seen as democratising the compositional and performance process.  What does it mean for the artistic process and notions of artistic integrity, intention and outcome?

(1) Lansky, P. “A View From the Bus: When Machines Make Music”. Perspectives of New Music, vol. 28/2, (Summer 1990)


Mareike Glӧss, Uppsala University                                                                                                                                                                                        Ubiquitous Computing at  our Fingertips: Everyday  Practices  and  Experiences  in  the  Context  of Tablet Computing

In 1988 Mac Weiser from the Xerox Research Center in Palo Alto published an  article in which he coined the term “ubiquitous computing”. He describes a  future in which computing devices have been integrated into our everyday lives  to a degree that they become invisible to us, part of our everyday routines. A central element in Weiser’s scenario are so-called “pads”, touch devices that  are part of the infrastructure of this future scenario. Now that these kinds of  pads become more and more part of our everyday life, we are able to examine in  how far ubiquitous computing affects our everyday practices on an experiential  level. One of the key challenges is that we cannot understand computing as  temporal or spatial limited action but instead have to focus on the users  experiential relationship towards the digital as an on-going set of practices and  experiences. This also means that we cannot longer focus on one artifact at a  time but instead have to see them in the context of use of other artifacts.

In Fall 2012 the department of Computer Science at Uppsala University decided  to supply all their employees with tablet computers. The here presented case is  optimal for an examination of how tablet computers are actually integrating into  people’s everyday routines. Because of the widespread allocation throughout the  whole department it offers an insight into a wide range of different practices and  experiences. Since employees are able to use the devices how- and wherever  they want, the study seeks to go beyond the mere work context. By using a  combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, including interviews and  observation, we explore the basic structures and experiences that are underlying  the tablets everyday use.

Based on this we are focusing on the following research questions:

  • Which new practices do evolve around the use of the tablet computer?
  • How are existing practices transformed through the tablet computer?
  • Does the tablet computer transform existing practices more radical than  other devices do?
  • How do users perceive the tablet computer, in particular in the context of  other devices? As a mobile device? As a computer? Do other devices get  replaced or even gain new meaning through the use of tablet computers?

The research is embedded into a theoretical framework that seeks to account for  practices in the context of materiality, mainly building on phenomenology. Through a strong theoretical foundation we are seeking to build a theoretical  framework as a foundation for future inquiries.

 

Daniel Goodbrey, University of Hertfordshire 
Game Comics: An Analysis of An Emergent Hybrid Form

This paper provides a critically grounded analysis of how the underlying structures of the comics medium have been impacted by hybridisation with the ludic qualities of the videogame. Comics and videogames are two spatial media with a shared history of visual influence and narrative crossover. In comics, the use of space to represent time is one of the fundamental structures underpinning the medium. In many videogames, the exploration and unlocking of space is a key aspect of their reward structure. However, while videogames are an intrinsically digital medium, the structure and language of comics has developed primarily within the confines of print.

Today the medium of comics is undergoing a transition, as the predominant mode of consumption shifts from print to digital display. Advances in portable display devices have accentuated the nature of this transition. Smartphones and tablet computers provide a platform on which comics and videogames are equally at home. As comics leave behind the trappings of print and embrace those of the screen, we see the emergence of new hybrid forms that appropriate tropes from other screen-based media. This paper provides a critical examination of one such hybrid; the emergent medium of Game Comics.

Games Comics can be defined as videogames that take the underlying structures and language of comics as the basis for their gameplay. The paper takes as a case study a sequence of tablet-based Game Comics created as a practice-lead inquiry into the potential of this new form. The study draws ideas from several of the canonical texts which discuss games (Caillois, Juul, Ryan) and digital media (Aarseth, Bolter & Grusin, Murray). It uses these theories to examine changes in the aesthetic experience of the comic form that have resulted from digital remediation. In this manner the paper provides a critically grounded exploration and analysis of how the underlying structures of the comics medium have been impacted by hybridisation with the ludic qualities of the videogame.


Ian Grant, University of Sussex
Touch as puppetry: Achieving Subtle and Nuanced Performance Through Tangible Touch Interfaces

Our tactile interactions with tablets, gestural, rhythmic and repetitive, are frequently mapped and remapped for expressive purposes.

The proposed paper explores the physical manipulation vocabularies surrounding touch and multi-touch, across a range of examples, where the tactile act to touching is akin to acts of puppetry. With multi-touch tablets, like the Apple iPad, Microsoft Surface, and before with TUIO devices (Tangible User Interface Objects using surfaces, touch and a particular protocol) we are seeing an increasing array of applications that explore touch, animation and mixed-reality experiences.

By ‘mixed-reality’ I refer to a range experiences: for example where the tablet screen is a networked controller and control signals are mapped to external physical artefacts (like lighting, sound, home automation, or robots) or where the tablet screen becomes a larger presence through projection, or indeed where the tablet is worn, like a mask and performed ‘through’ (see. iPad Head Girl 2011).

By ‘mixed-reality’, I also refer to the way tablets almost seamlessly blend, into a hybrid data-space, multi-touch with other motion sensor data including accelerometer, gyroscope and compass data. In the proposed paper, I am interested in the contexts in which touch control and motion data are used to create performance animation.

The paper will (briefly) survey the history of such creative work, games, animation and installations, where touch is used as control input and there is a performative dimension.

Documenting/demonstrating a practice led project, the paper presents a short exegesis of the software design process for a prototype iPad application called the ‘ShadowEngine’, that makes multi-touchable digital shadow theatre possible using real-time physics based animation.

With technical insight gained from programming the iPad for multi-touch interactions, I elaborate on the following ‘physical manipulation vocabularies’ and ideas with reference to animation control:

• touch sensitivity; • touch as caress; • touch as agression; • touch as direction; • touch as energy; • touch as focus; • touch as vector, velocity, value; • touch frequency as count; • multi-touch as anchor and goal; • multi-touch as goals; • multi-touch as range; • touch/drag as shape, pivot, stroke, shape; • touch duration as value; • touch and tap as rhythm; • mimetic mapping of touch to onscreen movement; • transformative mapping; • multiple finger gestures and movement; • generative touch (auto-symmetry, procedural touch); • non-touch and glitch

Some sensitising questions:

  • To what extent has the physical manipulation vocabulary /gestural practice of touch interaction been standardised?
  • What scope is there for the creative re-mapping of touch in performance animation?
  • How can touch (mediated across devices) lead to collaborative performance and puppetry-like experiences?
  • What are the expressive limitations of touch-screens and 2D gestural control? 

 

Caroline Hamilton, University of Melbourne, Gerard Goggin, University of Sydney
Off the shelf: How e-readers recapitulate books multi-function pasts

The development of tablet computers, such as the iPad or the Samsung Galaxy, which combine e-readers with networked data access and storage, communication, and a range of features for entertainment, work and education, provide scholars and the public with the impetus to reconsider what it means to use a book. Until recently, it has been taken for granted that a book serves only one function, that of ‘reading.’

However, recent scholarship in the history of the book has demonstrated that the intellectual and the practical functions for books were never as clearly delineated as they were until quite recently. Reading can encompass myriad practices and before the industrial regulation of book production and consumption books often served a variety of purposes: used, for example, as pieces of practical equipment such as writing desks, filing cabinets and personal recording devices.

This paper will provide an account of some of these notable historical examples of this multi-function book use in order to contextualise contemporary accounts of reading using tablet devices. It will consider how reading intersects with the other multi-function affordances that the technology of the book provides. Having established a historiographical account of earlier versions of the book as new media object, it will examine e-reading affordances and cultures associated with tablets. In doing so, the paper will explore how the cultural definition of what counts as ‘reading’ has evolved over time and how new technologies – especially the rise of the new media object of the tablet – might reinvigorate understanding of the proper place and purpose of the book in Western culture.

 

Timo Kaerlein, University of Paderborn 
Touching the Screen: Immediacy and discrepancy in the use of tablet computers

The advent of the touchscreen promised an unprecedented directness in interacting with screen content. So-called ‘Natural’ and ‘Tangible’ User Interfaces – as implemented in tablet computers and smartphones – claim to render obsolete any initial phase of learning by activating users’ implicit knowledge and habitualized everyday routines.

The talk addresses the ubiquity of the touchscreen as the essential interface of the early 21st century. In a first step, the surrounding phantasms of immediacy (Bolter/Grusin 2000) are scrutinized on different layers of operation. The touchscreen offers immediate access to content by the modality of touch. Furthermore, it takes on a privileged position in relation to the user’s body, allowing for a specific form of techno-intimacy.

Industry claims will be critically challenged by turning to instances of failure and disappointment. While the touchscreen seems to offer deep haptic satisfaction, the technology finds its limits in the trivial observation that all touchscreens feel alike. Even the most sophisticated touchscreen can’t compete with a traditional knob or button in pure tangibility. Additionally, the touchscreen brings with it new dimensions of irritating discrepancies between human body and technical device, e.g. grease spots left by fingers on the screen that in the worst case interfere with the interaction. These discrepancies are read from a framework inspired by the philosophy of technology to discuss human-technology relationships.

The paper uses the early iPad reception in 2010 as material to support the argument.

 

Hannah Lee, The American University of Paris, Thomas Young, The American University of Paris, Claudia Roda, The American University of Paris
E-Book Usability: Reading Time and Comprehension

Electronic reading (Er) has been struggling its way into the consumer market against  the traditional method of print reading (Pr). Although these two formats serve the  same ultimate purpose, the remaining particularities have shown to result in different  effects on the reader. Our hypothesis is that the relative advantage of one type of  reading over the other one may depend on several variables, amongst which, the type  of text may be the most significant. This study explores the reading speeds and levels  of comprehension of Er and Pr with two types of text: fiction and non-fiction. The  eInk Amazon Kindle Touch had been chosen to test Er and similarly formatted print- outs were chosen to test Pr; the experiment required half of our participants (8) to read  a non-fiction article on paper and a fiction novel excerpt on the e-reader, and the other  half of the participants to read the non-fiction article on the e-reader and the novel  excerpt on paper. Each participant was timed during both readings and asked to  answer a 12-question quiz on both texts after they had finished each reading. The  results of the limited sample of sixteen participants confirm previous experiments  suggesting that, compared to Pr, reading speeds are slower with Er. Surprisingly, the  results also reveal that participants achieved a significantly better comprehension  level for non-fiction texts read on the e-reader as compared to the non-fiction text  read on paper. Although further research is required to confirm these results and  analyze which other variables may play a role in these results, we speculate that Er is  better suited for non-fiction texts and Pr is better suited for fiction texts. 


Jeremy Matthew, King’s College London
Tablet Edition: Public Habits and uses of The Mobile Internet and online News Media.

Since  the  development of  easy-to-use  and  affordable  touch-screen  devices  like smartphones  and  modern  tablets  there  has  been  a  massive  increase  in  public  use of  the  mobile  Internet.  According  to  some  surveys  a  majority  of  individuals  with access  to  the  Internet  now  regularly  us e  the  mobile  Internet.  This  paper  will  aim to  discuss  the  implications  this  has  for  public  use  of  and  interactions  relating  to digital  news  media.  It  will  aim  to  explore  potential  issues  relating  to  the  different relationship  people  have  with  the  mobile  Internet  versus  a  PC-based  internet by critically  applying  Bourdieu’s  theories  on  habitus.  It  will  also  explore some  of  the methodological  issues  associated  with  researching  human  behaviour  on  these mobile  devices  in  public  spaces ,  based  on  a  pilot  study. 

The  paper  will  focus  on  everyday  human  interactions  with  news  information online  and  how  a  growing  mobile-based  Internet may  change  the  way individuals  engage  with  and  discuss  news  with  their  peers. Do  people  take  the time  to  read,  write,  or  watch  online  news  media  at  length  when  out  in  public?  Or do  individuals  use  these  devices  with  greater  brevity  and  less  engagement – receiving  information  from  others  and  giving  immediate  quick  responses,  while waiting  to  interact  in  greater  detail  in  a  more  private  space?  

With  use  of  the  mobile  Internet  on  portable  devices  exhibiting  a  potential  to outpace  use  of  traditional connections  on  laptops  and  desktop  computers  it  is important  to  explore  what  implications  this  has  for  human  social  interactions. What  new  online  discourses  may  emerge  and  what  new  modes  of  digital interactions  are  now  possible  are  already  dramatically  changing  the  way  we  use the  Internet.  This  represents  a  potential  shift  in  the  way  individuals  access  and interact  with  online  information. 

Nadja Ryzhakova, iPad Artist
Reinventing Painting: the Relationship Between Tradition and Technology in the Age of Mobile Devices

It is an established opinion that we are living  in the epoch of a technological revolution.  There has been the breathtaking race of  an expansion in computer technology over the  past 70 years.  I think we are now on the cusp of another technological growth spurt.

Certainly, the hand -held wireless devices - smartphones, and tablets performing like  mini hand -held computers are today’s new est medium in art. These gadgets , equipped  with advance drawing applications  and put in the hands of millions of people around the  world, have empowered individuals to create art anywhere, anytime, and immediately  distribute it to a wide audience. They are our new medium for creativity . With the  Internet and advanced creative applications, this new tool enables art with new unique  abilities such as mobility, spontaneity, and hybridity between hand -drawn and  mechanical elements. With my mobile digital art practice I aim to address a central  question, namely, what is the relationship between traditional painting and mobile  technology? I define my  art practice as iPainting.

iPainting – is a painting practice of creating images on Apple mobile devices  – tablets or  phones – with finger painting applications.

There are only handful of online blogs, Facebook groups and pages dedicated to drawing  on mobile devices. Among them are ipadimage.co.uk, founded by Martin Moor, and the  iPainting Facebook page founded by me in April 2012.

Even though iPainting is only struggling to find its place in the contemporary art world, I  have no doubt it will take no long time and it will be commonly accepted.

With my iPainting I  aim to “renegotiate” the tradition of painting a nd the tradition of  mobile digital art in relation to the continuity of their practice. From my perspective, the  attempt to substitute traditional mediums such as drawings and paintings with iPad  drawing is pointless. It is another esthetic, which is somet hing in between  drawing/painting and photography and it calls for seeking out new styles and  languages.  

So what are the implications of the increasingly global use of mobile devices for painting  and its tradition? In the same way as cellular phones grow i n popularity while shrinking  in size, art is not only becoming globally accessible for perception, but calls everyone for  open creative practice and experimentation. One of the consequences of this process is  that art is no longer a practice of selected gifted individuals, but a natural need for self- expression and experimentation. In other words, we are now at the stage of art  evolution when art is liberal as never before. This idea is a continuum of the definition of  art offered by Robert Irwin – prominent environmental artist – that states: art is ‘a  continuous examination of our perceptual awareness and a continuous expansion of our  awareness of the world around us’ (from Freeland 2001:207).  

Russell Pearce, University of Sussex
Title tbc

 

Nicola Yuill, University of Sussex, Yvonne Rogers, University College London, Jochen Rick, Saarland University, Stefan Kreitmayer, Open University
Pass the iPad: Tablet Computers  for Collaborative Creating and Sharing in Groups at Home and School

The increasingly cross-generational use of personal technology portrays families each absorbed in individual devices. Tablets potentially support multi-user working but are currently used as personal devices primarily for consumption, or individual or web-based games. Could tablets support creative co-located groupwork at home and school and how does such creative collaboration differ from the same tasks on paper? We designed and evaluated an app requiring individual and group co-creation in families. 262 family groups visiting a science fair played the collaborative drawing game on paper and iPads. Group creations were rated significantly more original and cohesive on iPads than paper. Detailed video analysis showed how tablets support embodiment and use of digital traces, and how the different media sustain individual and shared actions at different stages in the creative process. We sketch out implications for ownership and ‘scrap computers’: going beyond personally-owned devices, developing apps for an ecology of different devices across home and school to support collaboration.