Observing rhythms of everyday life in content made by smart devices and uploaded on electronic maps and social media. A methodological enquiry.

Drakopoulou, Sophia (2013) Observing rhythms of everyday life in content made by smart devices and uploaded on electronic maps and social media. A methodological enquiry. In: Spectacular /Ordinary /Contested Media City, 15-17 May, University of Helsinki.

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Abstract

This paper explores Lefebvre’s method of rhythmanalysis (2002) and the way lived experiences are documented in content circulated in smart devices and uploaded on social media. As per the model set by Vertov’s film, can this kind of content be used as observational tools for the rhythmanalysist?

Today, the merger of physical space with the digital world of information creates a new urban environment that is techno-synthetically composed. As the rhythms of the city change and are intertwined with instantaneous communication technologies, Lefebvre’s method in observing social space -via the study of rhythms becomes even more prominent (see also Stanek 2011, Apperley 2010). Content in the form of pictures, video and status updates sent and received by smart devices and circulated in social media, depicts scenes from everyday life. Projects such as Rhythm of Capitalism (rhythmofcapitalism.wordpress.com) make explicit references to Lefebvre’s idea of Rhythmanalysis, as they depict short videos clips from everyday life. Inspired by this, the paper will look at specific case studies such as the London riots of 2011, popular Instagram hash tags such as ‘photooftheday’, the Beat project (Social Media Information Lab sm.rutgers.edu/thebeat/ ) that combines geo-locaiton data with Google maps and images shared on social media sites.

In Rhythmanalysis Lefebvre examines the level of human and bodily everyday experience and the rhythms of everyday life in order to articulate what constitutes a lived experience. Lefebvre situates rhythm inside the lived experience; “rhythm enters into the lived” (2004 [1992]: 77). The Rhythmanalysist “thinks with his body, not in abstract, but in lived temporality” (Lefebvre 2004 [1992]: 21). A rhythm can contain all proportional aspects of the self, space, time, and equally include psychological, social and organic aspects – it can be though as a unit of diverse relations (Lefebvre 2004 [1992]: 77). Applying the method of rhythmanalysis, it can be said that the lived experience is documented in content, circulated in smart devices and uploaded on social media.

There is an ephemeral quality to the content uploaded on social media sites. This kind of daily documentation of everyday activities is a new cultural trend. Extracting a level of performativity this kind of snap shooting of everyday life contributes a character of immediacy and nowness; everything is shared ‘in the moment’. Content coming out of the portable data processor that is circulated to global and peer networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, comes from the level of the street, everyday life and experiences.

Vertov’s film The Man with The movie Camera, is made up of short visual clips that depict various scenes from everyday life in three cities. Because of Vertov’s ideological layering of the film’s plot in three levels of view points, it has been used as a metaphor by Manovich (2002) and Deleuze (1983) in order to express that the juxtaposition of images using pioneering editing techniques creates the ideological basis of expression in Vertov.
As per the model set by Vertov’s film, in which scenes from everyday life are depicted, content in the form of pictures, videos and status updates uploaded on social media, sent and received by smart devices depict fragments of everyday life.

During and immediately after the London riots in August 2011, an array of video clips circulated on youtube and Facebook depict people from all walks of life, at the riots’ locations, engaged in spontaneous discussion, sharing opinions about the cause of the riots.
The Rhythms of Capitalism website contains short video clips that depict scenes of everyday life, video clips range from a video depicting an espresso machine making coffee, to sea waves to people walking on the street. These short video clips could be used as observational tools for the rhythmanalysist.

Although Lefebvre asserts that “No camera, no image or series of images can show these rhythms. It requires equally attentive eyes and ears, a head and a memory and a heart” (Lefebvre 1974), the street-level quality of these depictions offer a street-level viewpoint that Lefebvre would encourage as voices coming from the observational level of rhythmanalysis. Observing this kinds of content as tools for the rhythmanalysist, it can be said that they depict rhythms of everyday life, they produce rhythms, they open dialogues for the creation of rhythms. This paper will explore the relationship between the method of Rhythmanalysis and lived experience as documented in content circulated in smart devices and uploaded in social media sites.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Media
Item ID: 16324
Depositing User: Sophia Drakopoulou
Date Deposited: 26 May 2015 14:17
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:34
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/16324

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