Author Archives: Geke van Dijk

Book and analysis of preliminary observations (winter 2008)

To consolidate the collection of visual observations throughout 2008, we compiled a book with colour prints of the materials collected so far. We then conducted a preliminary analysis, to explore potential clusters of styles.

Observations throughout London (summer 2008)

To continue our explorations of the ‘urban catwalk’ we collected visual material in various areas of London (photos and video). We went to Shoreditch, Liverpool Street, Kensington, Brixton, Edgeware Road, and Clerckenwell. Areas with very different populations and styles. Our observations were focused on sartorial appreances as well as the types portable technology people were […]

Observations in Akihabara, Tokyo (spring 2008)

To further explore ways to document people using portable technology on the ‘urban catwalk’, we experimented with making series of panoramic stills across public crossings in Akihabara, Tokyo.


As this research project is a work in progress, the methodology is evolving over time. Our current lines of thought about it are: Data collection in both London and Kyoto 1. In-depth study with small sample of participants – Preliminary interviews (to elicit general profile and introduce diary – notes, photos, video) – Diary/probe study  […]

Everyday Contexts of Camera Phone Use (Mizuko Ito & Daisuke Okabe)

Study of emerging practices of camera phone usage in Tokyo. Investigating technosocial situations of camphone use.
Camera phones are a relatively new portable media technology that is rapidly becoming commonplace. They have added one more component of the layered information and media ecology that overlays the everyday experience in urban Japan. The usage of the camera phone is still an emerging practice, though some usage patterns seems to be stabilizing. There are indicators of practices of picture taking and sharing that differ both from the uses of the stand-alone camera and the kinds of social sharing that happened via mobile phone communication.
The camera phone is one of the latest additions to our technological repertoire that enables us to mobilize our existing social relationships and systems of meaning in ways that are both innovative and locally intelligible.

Portable Objects in Three Global Cities (Mizuko Ito et al.)

Aimed at understanding how portable devices construct and support individual’s identity and activities, mediating relationships with people, places and institutions. Focus on how portable devices mediate relationships to urban space and infrastructures, not on relational communication.

Smart Mobs (Howard Rheingold)

Description of ‘smart mobs’, using mobile communication, as an emergence of a new techo-cultural shift.
Smart mobs represent a fundamentally new form of social connectivity, where the virtual and the physical words meet, and where people communicate across space and time to engage in collective action on a scale never before achieved. A social revolution, signifying how technology bends society.

Mobile Times (People & Practices Research Lab, Intel)

Investigating which aspects of time use matter most to technology use. The issue of managing one’s own personal time zones—the set of social obligations, relationships, and activities that create the rhythms of one’s day—is increasingly complex and fragmented, though this occurs differently in different parts of the world. Being busy may not be the root cause of dissatisfaction with time use. Conflicts arise not when people have more to do, but increasingly diverse things to switch between, creating the need to ‘shift gears’ frequently.

Understanding convergence (Stefana Broadbent)

People are are extremely sophisticated in their communication choices, and usually choose the best channel for each situation.
New forms arising are not substitutional. There is a constant evolution. Each new channel that appears slowly redefines the uses of older media. A pattern of communication emerges slowly, stabilises for a period and then changes again when new communication channels are introduced. How are the choices as to what communication technologies people use influenced by motivations and the situations they are in?