Geomedia speaker series - James Ash (University of Newcastle)
Digital Kinematics: analysing movement and sensation in digital systems and interfaces.
This talk develops the concept of kinematics in order to analyse digital interfaces and systems. Digital kinematics focuses on how digital systems are formed of paired elements that work to enable and constrain movement, which in turn alters the kind of sensations user’s experience. Drawing upon data from an ESRC funded project on gambling style systems in digital games, we argue that a digital kinematic approach provides an alternative way of theorising the relationship between digital interface and analog body, which has formed a core site of concern in digital media theory.
Rather than an encounter between quantitative digital data and an analog human body, kinematics provides a way of thinking digital systems and bodies as entities whose capacities to act and respond are shaped by how they can move. Here, movement, in both digital systems and human bodies, is understood as mechanisms of displacement and alignment, which are generative of sensation. Demonstrating the kinds of movement at play in digital interfaces, we suggest that different logics of closure can be identified in these systems, each of which work to shape the kinds of sensations generated and actions produced. In doing so, a digital kinematic approach enables analysis of digital systems that can understand how they shape, without determining, the experiences and responses of users.
James Ash is a social scientist working at the intersections of media, cultural studies and human geography. James' research interests revolve around digital geographies and the cultures, economies and politics of smart technology and digital interfaces.
James Ash is author of:
- Phase Media: Space, Time and the Politics of Smart Objects(Bloomsbury 2017)
- The Interface Envelope: Gaming, Technology, Power (Bloomsbury 2015)
- Digital Geographies (co-editor)