Mobile Art

From the WAP Promises to the App Bubbles

Authored by: Giselle Beiguelman

The Routledge Companion to Mobile Media Art

Print publication date:  July  2020
Online publication date:  July  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367197162
eBook ISBN: 9780429242816
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter analyzes the emergence of the mobility culture from a series of artistic works that I carried out in the first decade of the 2000s, between 2001 and 2010. It is understood here as a culture of mobility, where the socio-technical experience is mediated by portability and ubiquity of networks. Through the presentation of projects ranging from Wop Art (wap + op art) (2001) to I Love Your GIF (2010) I discuss the promises that have been outlined with WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) to the corporate bubbles of the world of applications and ultracomplex, functional and vigilant smartphones. Put in perspective and reviewed through exhibition and technological backgrounds, works like **//Code_UP (2004), developed in the context of the first Nokia Trends in São Paulo (curated by the Brazilian artist Lucas Bambozzi), or Net Aura (2008), also made with sponsorship of Nokia in Brazil, show that mobile media art anticipated uses that became trends of contemporary urban culture. Moreover, they show how by this time the Global South was able to take advantage of its lack of landlines and appropriate mobile networks for new uses. Critiqued together and in dialog with other Brazilian and South American artists and curators, the works throughout this chapter offer an overview of the particularities of mobile media art in the specific context of emerging economies. At the same time, they illuminate the synchronicity of this production with the aesthetic and cognitive transformations that live in transit and connected to devices announced throughout the world. In a retrospective and global balance, they also offer an opportunity to think about what has stayed and what we have lost in crossing the promises of the Wap towards the app bubbles of today.

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