Dong-Hoo Lee
University of Incheon, Korea

Re-imagining Urban Space: Mobility, Connectivity, and a Sense of Place


Photography is a distinct symbol of recording, interpreting, and reproducing messages. As a technology of memory, representation, and expression, it has constituted part of our everyday communication environments. However, its cultural practices and significances have been reinvented by changes in its dominant technological forms from the analogue to the digital, its re-mediation via information communication technologies (ICTs) such as mobile phones and the Internet. Portable digital cameras have enabled people to record moments from their
everyday lives and the scenes they witness on the move, making the world in private and public spaces more visible and transparent. The ICTs which extend an individual’s ability for personal and social communicability have relocated photographic images in various communication settings, including one’s own handsets, picture messages, photoblogs, moblogs, and online bulletin boards. As the activities of taking pictures by portable digital cameras or camera phones and transacting them via wire or wireless networks have been incorporated in people’s daily experiences, they have transformed what photographs have traditionally meant for people as well as how photographing has been performed.

As digital images created by users have proliferated on the Web, those that have captured people’s spatial experiences have become one of main sources of creative online content. Especially when they have been linked to web-based geographical maps, they have become an unprecedented source for geographical information. This study attempts to look at the ways in which urban experiences, captured by people’s portable digital cameras or camera phones, have been registered and constellated within the map on the Web. It examines a new form of geographical information created by ordinary people, which tends to expand the existing role of maps.

For this investigation, I will study Cyworld (http://cyworld.nate.com), one of Korea’s leading online social networks similar to MySpace, whose map service has provided a platform for geospatial images created by the users. This specific instance will give us a venue to analyze interconnections between people’s photo-taking practices, their online activities, and the emerging geospatial imagery.
By analyzing the ways in which the expanding geographic information has been constructed, as well as how it has defined urban spaces and people’s relations with them, I will discuss the role of technologies that affect and even restructure these.

Dong-Hoo Lee is an associate professor in the Department of Mass
Communication at University of Incheon in Korea. She received her
doctorate from the department of culture and communication at New York
University. She has published articles on transnational television
culture in Asia as well as new media culture in Korea. Her research
interests include media flow in the age of globalization, the cultural
consequences of new communication technology, and medium theory.

Dong-Hoo Lee