molly hankwitz on 11 Nov 2000 05:00:17 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Cellphones and the Cancer of Cellspace

All the American Market Needs to "Catch Up" is to Figure Out How Best to
Gender is but One Factor

1.  Cellphones are great for two car car trips where directions on how to
get to that beach party or forest rave are a necessity. Calling from one
to the other is one way in which the 2-person social space created by
"privatized" cellphones becomes totally for the social good, especially
when more than one person is in each car and all are dying to get to
the party. Likewise, highway accidents and breakdowns become all the
more conveniently dealt with when a cellphone is neatly tucked into
a handbag as roadside call boxes are sometimes, especially in the bush,
or the desert, or even in the 'burbs, miles/kilometres apart. They increase
a sense of personal safety and convenience.

2. Which brings us to cell phones and public San Francisco, the
American city, perhaps, to have a democratic cafe Internet system,
SFNet, an unpretentious text-only grid of  terminals costing 25 cents per
hour and from
which one could manage a personal email account from any participating cafe
location in the city
(a way to chat,  post your on-the-road poetry, find a job or a  room or a
sex partner)
public phones in districts where drug dealing is high have been
systematically removed by the city
for the past 4 or 5 years alledgedly because they were being abused by
drugdealers. Especially in gentrifying neighborhoods, the spectre of a drug
dealer using the public phone as a "private office" and offending customers
often incoming from the 'burbs to eat  and drink caused enough complaints
as to have the phones removed. This probably in conjunction with the city's
unwillingness to continue to maintain public phones on a regular basis due
to cost or their location in bad neighborhoods has led to a set of
circumstances affecting the street 1) the public pay phone, more difficult
to find, was now more difficult to use in an emergency or even to call for
information 2) the sense of security and convenience provided by a public
payphone in the event of an emergency or a spontaneous use,  decreased. The
personal cellphone, of course, does away with this problem of personal
safety in given situations making it perhaps nicer for females to be out
late or for little old ladies to spend time in urban space or for
handicapped people to get around without fear or inconvenience. The
cellphone, of course, until it is free or 25 cents will not replace the
public phone as a democratic municipal service enhancing the quality of
public space for all.

3.  The incident of a cellphone user overheard threatening an unwanted
caller while standing at 8th and Astor." Never, ever, call me again
....I'll get my lawyer!!!..." seems to underscore a certain lack of social
space for which New York is already famous.

4. Visions of young women loving cellphones suggest 2 things: 1) a
proclivity for "networking" which isn't going away and 2) "personal wands".
The former relates to the social space of writing and
networking long attributed to women and girls as a kind of socio-polticial
space in which the female
gender, femininity and feminism have proliferated. From embroidery to
ladies' chapbooks to stickers, buttons, pamphlets, 'zines, and now the
Internet and the Web, our gender has managed historically to communicate
and survive. The latter refers to a design compeittion called 'Visions of
the Future' in
which delicately designed "wands" (shaped sort of like buttplugs, dildos or
phallic penlights) will eventually enable their owners to do what the
PalmPilot, the cellphone and the remote control, at least, do now...yet,
even more so, will enable persons to interact with their
wallpaper...somewhere inbetween electronic make-up and a free-style
joystick they come in a range of unique shapes and sizes and are
rechargeable by being placed in special "vessels" resembling candy dishes
which you
 keep on your coffee table. Women as consumers will be able, as well, to
create perfected faces, like
avatars with which to address other cellspace users.

5. It is quite probable that "the wife" in Mckenzie Wark's article was
snoring in the bed
next to her frisky husband, because she was doped up on crack that
she purchased with her own little pink cellphone  and weekly allowance in
American suburbs, unlike what we might think from watching
too many crime programs on the inner city, have some of the highest
incidents of drugdealing and drug addiction and especially among housewives,
of any part of the US, outdoing most inner cities, in fact, for
expenditures on
crack! The wife was probably nearly dead from boredom and possibly drugs
 when she fell asleep because her husband spends so much time fiddling with
cellphone, trying to connect. Curiously phone sex ads here in Queensland do
not imply
virtual "sex" as much as they sell the idea of a nice freindly partner.

for research on wearable cellspace and personal wands:


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