amputated by travel


Waiting
Originally uploaded by Frans Mäyrä.

I am one of those people (an increasing breed) whose work largely consists of maintaining processes that are based on messages, meetings and other collaboration via communication (or waiting/dysfunctionalities of that communication). In many days there is a train-trip to Helsinki (2 x 2 hours), or a flight travel to some foreign destination (anything up to a dozen hours in bus, taxi, airport and aeroplane – and then the same back again). It is an eternal frustration to get the work done with the whatever limited online time I have available. Tampere – Helsinki train trip for example should be optimum working time, particularly when you are equipped with a 3G/GPRS network card, like my laptop. But no: the connection is breaking down, the email programme is all the time jammed, and it is very hard to participate in any of those oh-so-urgent processes. (Why they are urgent, what is happening to all of our time these days…) I try to keep travels to old-fashioned reading of paper documents, but many issues are those oh-so-urgent ones, and if a full day is spent off-line, that will only mean that you need to take care of all those messages in the evening, on your “own time”. Even air travel carriers are now talking about allowing mobile communications; when shall a simple train travel stop meaning becoming an amputee, unable to hear, see or participate? (Make your refs: cyborg subjectivity, posthumanism, prosthetic and/or amputated condition, posthumanism…)

Author: frans

Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, esp. Digital Culture and Game Studies in the University of Tampere, Finland.

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