SMARTPHONES… NOT SO SMART? #4

Day 6: 22/03/2016
SYDNEY TRIP WITHOUT A PHONE-
Today was interesting, it was the first time I could project my activity in a public social setting, focusing on how much I rely on my phone to get from A to B. various issues arose and I can say that without connection to the internet I am hopeless.

PROBLEMS THAT OCCURRED THROUGHOUT THE DAY:

  1. Train times- usually I uses the trip view app on my phone, or I would have contacted one of my friends and asked what train they were catching. I decided to just go to the station at 7:46, the train I normally get on for uni which goes to central and luckily enough one of my friends was there to catch the train with me and help with train times. We go to Sydney okay and perfectly on time, the issue was coming home, when her phone had died and we had to get home ourselves just using a time table and listening to announcements. Sadly, two, twenty-year-old university students couldn’t even catch a train back to Wollongong without their phone, instead accidently caught a train to Cronulla, making an hour and a half commute, three.
  2. Keeping track of time- I rarely wear a watch but today would have been the perfect time to start. I found myself constantly asking people what the time was and just relying on other people’s time management (my friends was poor).
  3. Taking photographs- there were so many amazing pieces and some strange ones that I wanted to document and remember, I don’t have a camera, so again I just bothered my friend to take a million photos for me and then send them to me later that night (wow I’m pretty demanding).
  4. Marking attendance- instead of marking a roll, my lecturer Su Ballard requested that to mark our attendance, that we take a selfie in front of the three embassy’s we visited and upload it to Instagram with the hashtag #CAVA331. I don’t feel like I need to explain the issues in this request?
  5. Checking my bank balance- its nearing pay day and my account is presumably low, resulting in me playing Russian roulette every time I purchased something, luckily it didn’t decline.

POSITIVE ASPECTS:

  1. Generally enjoying the experience that was right in front of me. I was not distracting by texts, tweets, snaps or Facebook, I was completely focused and Intune with all the art, I felt immersed in the experience and I am grateful for that.
  2. I was not constantly checking my bag, pockets or bra thinking “where the hell is my phone?!”

OBSERVATIONS- The main observation that I can make overall is that I am a cheater…. Just because I never used my phone or even use my friends phone, I still constantly asked them to perform tasks for me; what the time was, what time does the train come and can you take a photo of that for me please? Even though I never physically touched a phone I still gained from the benefits it provided. Can anyone even function this day and age without one?

Day 7: 23/03/2016

“Doing life consciously was a compelling notion to me. When you do life consciously, however, life becomes pretty strange- paying attention changes the thing attended to do- so the happenings were not nearly as life like as I had supposed they might be. But I learned something about life and ‘life’.” – Allan kaprow (1979) Preforming life, pg.195.

REFLECTIONS:

ISSUES- After a full week of completely going without a mobile phone many observations and conclusions can be made. Firstly, the planed discourse for this activity has been subject to various changes, so my initial goal and hoped outcome has been altered. The main issues that arose were; wanting to use my sim in the old nokia as a substitute phone, making the objective to merely alter the everyday activity of using a smartphone, instead, I’ve had to completely erase said activity and monitor the effects of that. Another issue that was out of my control was my health, I had planned for this activity to be performed in social and public situations, rather than in the four walls of my bedroom. Every experiment, art work, happening or activity have setbacks and uncontrollable forces that impact the designated layout and outcome, just go with and alter. As kaprow stated, when you observe life, actions start to alter, making it hard to capture a pure activity. The reason for preforming said activity has changed, shifting the movements and results.

RESULTS- Observing the use of your mobile phone as an activity makes you become more aware of how much we actually use our phones for both practicality and social interaction. A sense of self awareness is provided after a while, as well as awareness for others close around you and their relationship to technology. I personally find it strange that the phone has become an extension of the body, a natural reflex to preform, as many people can unlock and text with their eyes closed. The use of a mobile phone has become second nature and an instinctual reflex. I often found myself aimlessly reaching for my phone with no purpose in mind, instigated by some form of separation anxiety. It’s an activity that we perform with ease and due to its comfortability, when its removed inflicts some form of discomfort. Using our mobiles is an activity that’s so accepted, that its used as a marking tool for university lecturers when out of the classroom as well as in (In Su’s class we mark our attendance ourselves on our phones whilst sitting in class, or at home for sneaky buggers).

Overall I’m surprised with myself how hard I initially found it to be without my phone for both social reasons and organisational. Preforming this activity has shown my personal connection to mobile, observing how much time I actual spend (waste) on it, what I’m actually dong on the mobile and the levels of anxiety experienced when I can’t use it. The leading point the I’ve learned from this experiment is actually the idea of an “activity” and the classification of using my mobile phone as an activity. Its allowed myself to be more aware of different aspects of the social in a conceptual context.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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