Labmovel/Mobile Lab is a joint initiative developed in Amsterdam by the Netherlands Media Art Institute (NIMk) and in Brazil by Vivo arte.mov, an International Mobile Media Art Festival, with the support of Telefonica’s Program of Art and Technology (BR) and Th e Mondriaan Foundation (NL). It consists of specially designed street vehicles equipped with features of digital media developed in the cities of Amsterdam and São Paulo. In 2012, artists from both countries submitted residency proposals that integrated the development of art projects, workshops, and cultural events as the Mobile Labs went on tour in the Netherlands and Brazil.
Media Arts on Wheels
Gisela Domschke and Lucas Bambozzi
The Road Exhibitions in Brussels (1910) and Liège (1930)
This article describes how two temporary road exhibitions before World War II functioned as tools to frame the Belgian road project as a rich cultural venture. In the absence of a comprehensive policy and any diverse cultural engagement by the government, a particular relationship between culture, technology, and society crystallized in the museological arrangement of these exhibitions. The article argues that, while these exhibitions relate the road project to a broad cultural field, they simultaneously instill a rigid way of reasoning about the modern road.
Image and Imaginary in the Cultural Turn: Review Essay
The mechanized mobility practices that came to dominate road use in the twentieth century—using cars, motorbikes, and bicycles—have been notable for the concurrent development of accompanying print literatures in the form of magazines and newspapers. The developmental history of each mode can be told through a number of distinct lenses, each revealing a part of the story of the mobility technology in use. In the context of a renaissance in cycling, there is an emergence of a new style of bicycle magazine that breaks the mould of previous journals.
Carlo Ratti and Matthew Claudel
The world is urbanizing at an unprecedented rate, and its cities are transformed by technology and distributed computing. With every photograph, Twitter post, public transit ride, and credit card swipe, we leave digital traces in physical space. The enormous quantity of information, or Urban Big Data, that humanity generates each day is beginning to off er new possibilities for research, design, and systems optimization on the city scale, but the first step toward our urban future is finding new ways of understanding and visualizing Big Data—revealing invisible dimensions of the city.
Mimi Sheller and Gijs Mom
Th is issue sheds new light on one of the classic concerns of mobility studies: transitions in forms of personal transportation. Mobility transitions are arguably one of the key issues of the twenty-first century, as societies around the world face the pressing questions of climate change mitigation and adaptation. A better understanding of recent and historical transitions not only in vehicle technologies but also in urban forms could be crucial to guiding future transition dynamics. At the same time, a deeper appreciation of historical transitions in transportation can also inform how we think about the present: what methods we use, what factors we take into consideration, and what theoretical perspectives we employ.
Two quotations, two periods of history. While the lines were written a century apart, their divergent sentiments reflect more than just the passage of time. They also show how, in the space of a century, the very concept of speed has become more complex, mainly because different kinds of speed are available thanks to new technologies in communications and mobility. The juxtaposition of these two quotations show a rupture: it seems that we are slowly shifting from a status where speed was both wish and choice to one where limited movement may be forced upon us by declining fossil fuels and growing pollution.
The motorcar changed the modern world. While German inventors inaugurated the automotive era in the late 1880s, industrial production was scaled up first in France, followed shortly by the United Kingdom and the United States. Before World War II, the German automotive industry remained small, despite its central role in pioneering the technology. While around 3.8 million cars left U.S. plants in 1928, German manufacturers produced only 108,143 automobiles. The bulk of these vehicles were sold domestically, and as another indication of low German production, American companies built nearly a quarter of the German total in assembly plants they set up across Germany.
This review article gives an overview of the relevant literature about automobile culture inside the former Eastern Bloc. First, researchers have used the history of automobiles to deepen our understanding of socialist consumption practices and the history of everyday life in Eastern Europe. Second, the existing literature on automobilty behind the Iron Curtain focuses on the role that Western automotive knowledge and technology played in socialist car production and usage. Finally, the case of the automobile also offers useful insight into socialist city planning and road building, but these remain understudied aspects.
Dhan Zunino Singh
The article outlines a possible course for mobility in Latin American history based on the diagnosis made by previous reviews on the field. It claims that although the emergence of new studies have signified a critical approach to transport technologies and greater emphasis on cultural and social practices of mobility, the term needs to be discussed more in theoretical terms to shape a common language among scholars from different perspectives. Moreover, mobility discussions should lead scholars to reconsider Latin America as a subject of analysis by critically revisiting the matter of periphery.
An Oral History of the Muleteers of Zhaozhou
Ma Jianxiong and Ma Cunzhao
Mule caravans established a network across physical, political, and ethnic boundaries that integrated Southwest China, Southeast Asia, and Tibet. This article is a first exploration of this little-known mobile network. Based mainly on oral history, it focuses on the mule caravans based in Zhaozhou in western Yunnan from the late Qing to the 1940s, when the first motor roads were constructed. The investigation assembles horse and mule technologies and trade organization in detail in order to reconstruct the role and standing of transporters and their networks in local society, in the regional setting, in a volatile political environment, and in the face of challenging natural conditions.