luciano petullà

systems and dimensions of new communication

In internet everybody knows you can be a dog Time has gone, socially and technologically speaking,  since comics on New Yorker (1993) drowed by Peter Steiner cleverly summarized both powerness and riskies about online interactions, so becoming a meme on internet anonymity condition. The phrase “on internet nobody knows you’re a dog” referred to its colleague could be understood at least in a double meaning.   From one side, as a relational and democratic liberation from material considerations such as class, genre, body apparency, age… and, here, also of species, an idealization of purely discoursive relationships that, thinking of animal inclusion, seemed less radical than Alain Touring’s dream involving even speaking entities built artificially (AI). On the other hand, the comics were a warning to check the “quality” of online contacts because everyone has a chance to cheat. Actual horizon fueled by social accounts and ostentatious exhibits of personal images (granted of preventive aesthetic adjustments) seems to have absorbed part of anxiety. By the way, the “fake” became more insidious because involving contents even if now it’s a well-known and rejected category that, given our alternating successes, won’t spare us from using a vigilant and active criticism in the future….

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From Lollipop to the enchanted objects Although resulting quite elusive and so equally fascinating, having to deal with design as topic became a “must” even for people interested in communication technology since the iPhone has been launched in 2007. Meantime, centrifugal explosion of digital media in people’s social and personal life, alongside with multiple use of digital interfaces, puts design at the centre of industries as mode to differentiate products and satisfy users’ needs and desires. On the other hand, while our body-mind goes through digital portals for hundreds times every day, changes in digital design are also symptom on how fastly and (almost) unawares we dwell and readapt our personal and social being. Indeed, as someone said, mobile screens have become the real third place of human living, being hard to find places or activities where digital screens are absent. However, digital design should be thought as part  of design work, which aims to elaborate solutions that simplify, in a given temporal context, interactions among persons and objects/devices inside a play of reciprocal adaptation/stimulation, mainly an enriching encounter between human beings – dominated by an alchemy of feelings, senses and rationality – and human artifacts – material objects, mechanisms/procedures of…

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Reflections on the deep “high-tech” connaturality of our vocal medium in the age of speaking avatars The end of a translation work inevitably leaves echo of faced topic, especially if we have dealt with our ancestral medium.  Indeed, publishing of Italian version of Steven Connor’s Dumbstruck operates as an irresistible invite to begin some reflections stimulated by an opera that is unique to understand human voice as process and product of a body living in close interaction with its cultural and social environments, sprouting a sonorous phenomenon at same time physical and immaterial, capable to mediate our own internal and external realm, allowing, because of its transitive nature, to communicate other life dimensions. Summing up, it is ventriloquism the red thread with which Connor faces a so peculiar feature of human being. Contemplating of voice both naturalness and disembodied aspects – story starts from Greek oracles up to our actual condition of human beings living between, and in, mechanical and electronic systems full of disembodied voices – the book can unfold us some mediation dynamics that, fed and filtered through different socio-cultural environments, make voice such expressive tool to which we have always reserved both a careful attention and obliged…

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Introduction American company Apple, producer of computers and personal devices – among others, the famous mp3-player iPod – has entered into mobile business with a video cell phone that has been presented and hailed worldwide with a great emphasis. In this paper we’ll take iPhone as a fresh case study to update some paths used to study video cell phone (Borrelli, Petullà 2007). It is a phenomenon particularly suited because of its success, that can be understood only at the light of a context including the logic of its technical development and aesthetical aspects, and so inevitably experiential ones, justifying a fully sociological and cultural approach to media study. Although the great number of interesting cues, we will try to focus our attention on contiguous topics with our previous analysis, using it as interpretative frame. The iPhone has been presented in US on January 2007 becoming commercially available on June the 29th. Both events have received an enormous attention from international media; they have dedicated much time to illustrate its characteristics as well as folkloristic aspects marked by feverish waits of early adopters, that formed long queues to buy an expensive phone (at least 500/600 dollars for the early versions)…

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