Show Less
Restricted access

Digital Proxemics

How Technology Shapes the Ways We Move


John A. McArthur

The study of proxemics – the human use of space – is reimagined for the digital age in this book, a compelling examination of the future of the ways we move. Whereas much writing on the subject focuses on what digital technology might do for us, this book explores what the same technology might do to us.
Combining dynamic stories, cutting-edge research, and deep reflection on the role of space in our lives, Digital Proxemics examines the ways that our uses of physical and digital spaces and our uses of technology are converging. It investigates the role of digital communication in proxemics, offering explorations of the ways digital technology shapes our personal bodily movement, our interpersonal negotiation of social space, and our navigation of public spaces and places. Through the lens of information and user-experience design, it adds forbidden spaces, ubicomp, augmented reality, digital surveillance, and virtual reality to the growing lexicon surrounding proxemics. The result is a spatial turn in the study of digital technology and a digital turn in the study of proxemics.
As our culture changes, our ability to make choices about how to move will be called into question, as will our expectations for what roles technology will play in our lives. As we navigate this intersection, Digital Proxemics is at once a valuable lens through which we can view our shifting culture, a cautionary tale through which we might envision problematic outcomes, and an optimistic projection of possibility for the future of human communication and technology interaction.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter 1. Moving


← xiv | 1 →·1·


In December 1988, my parents purchased the penultimate present for my brothers and I—the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). I remember the excitement of the morning. We discovered NES sitting atop the television, or more specifically atop the 4-foot-wide wooden cube that housed the television and occupied one corner of our den. The oak grain of the television juxtaposed with the sleek black and gray of the NES console foreshadowed the rapidly changing future of home entertainment. This obvious nod to the future was all but lost on three boys.

The now iconic NES game cartridges had futuristic, golden connectors protruding from the bottom that merged the game to the console. When these connectors slid into the console, any dust that had accumulated on them disrupted the images on the screen and the play of the game. The fix for this bug was to remove the cartridge and blow mightily on the connectors in hopes of removing the dust. Even today, when I see people my age blowing dust out of their iPhones, I can only assume that this motion is a holdover of Nintendo’s influence on my generation.

With the release of NES, Nintendo attempted to reinvigorate the gaming market following the video game crash of 1983.1 The crash, resulting from market saturation of a variety of consoles and poorly designed games, left an ← 1 | 2 →opening for a single system to set industry standards. NES was...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.