Border Crossings: Drawing the Line Between the Virtual and the Real

Prof. Gregory Garvey
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This presentation adopts Giddens use of the term umwelt and Clark’s notion of border theory to account for the phenomena of gaming and anywhere anytime continuous computing, connectivity and communication. A new generation is growing up immersed in playing video games and also the use of wireless technology, networking, cheap mobile gadgets, surfing the internet, instant messaging, pod casting, blogging and downloading streaming sound and video media. Thomas Vander Wal calls this always on media landscape of personal communication, entertainment and news the info cloud.

How do we begin to understand the social boundaries defined by these technologies? From ethology Anthony Giddens borrows the idea of the umwelt, defined as an awareness and sensitivity to an organisms immediate surroundings. For humans “It extends over indefinite spans of time and space, and corresponds to the system of relevances, to use Schutz’s term, which enframes the individual’s life,” or in other words the info cloud.

How do people navigate between these worlds and while maintaining a sense of identity? Sue Campbell Clark has proposed border theory, which accounts for “border-crossers who make daily transitions between multiple worlds – the world of work, the world of family.” I would add to this game playing and our immersion into the info cloud.

She continues: People shape these worlds, mold the borders between them, and determine the border-crosser's relationship to those worlds and its members. Though people shape their environments, they are, in turn, shaped by them.

The challenge according to Clark, is to understand the “very contradiction of determining and being determined by” by our work, family, gaming lives and mediated by the info cloud. How do we retain the right to determine the “shape” of these worlds, “mold the borders between them” and negotiate our daily border crossings?

Keywords: Border-Crossing, Culture, Family, Work, Games, Video Games, Continuous Computing, Handheld, Mobile, Info-Cloud, Data-Streams, Wireless Technology, Networking, Cheap Mobile Gadgets, Surfing, Instant Messaging, Pod Casting, Blogging, Identity
Stream: Other or Stream Unspecified
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Border Crossings

Prof. Gregory Garvey

Professor, Department of Computer Science and Interactive Digital Design, Quinnipiac University
Hamden, Connecticut, USA

Gregory P. Garvey teaches in the Department of Computer Science and Interactive Digital Design at Quinnipiac University. His interactive computer based installations have been exhibited in the U.S., Canada and Europe. In 2000-2001 was an Associate Artist of the Digital Media Center for the Arts at Yale University. Previously he was Chair of the Department of Design Art and Coordinator of the Digital Image/Sound Program at Concordia University in Montréal. He has degrees from UW-Madison, MIT and was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT from 1983-85.

Ref: I06P0163