Project

Arcade Fire and Multimodality

This is the new interactive video from Arcade Fire for their song “We Used To Wait.” It was designed by a Chris Bell and can be found at The Wilderness Downtown. It uses Google Chrome, a mixture of text, windows, audio, video, and Google Maps to offer a spatial effect to customize the viewing effect to your own location. Quite  a heady multimodal mix and a signal of things to come for web design.

I also think it goes against the notion of cyberculture as an impersonal void to be battled against (I suppose I am referring a bit to the William Gibson cyberpunk side of being in the machine and against it at the same time). It rather presents the online engagement phenomena as highly personal, highly contextual, mutlimodal, and aesthetically pleasing. I am also interested in this mixture of online location and physical location (as evidence by the Google Maps component). A heady mixture of location both in terms of space and cyberspace. You can even type a postcard to your childhood self (it assumes this is your childhood home), which is certainly interesting as a learning phenomena. Indeed, what would you tell your childhood self by way of what you have learned? What wisdom would you impart to them? Self-assessment at its finest.

One can imagine some variations of this already where interactive videos are constructed from disparate bits based on the geocoding already taking place in your mobile device. The phone recognizes where you are and constructs materials appropriate to one’s physical context. Rather than William Gibson now it is starting to feel like Philip K. Dick, just less gritty.

At the end of this video, I literally see my father in law’s car, which is actually uncanny, both familiar and unsettling. As my father in law would never listen to Arcade Fire (nor have anything to do with a music video).

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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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