Media is more than an image, message, or content to be relayed from one point to another. And computational infrastructure is more than a neutral carrier and collector of information. Rather, these are embodied techno-spatial practices that produce space/time and are constitutive of social orders. The pervasiveness of location-aware connected technology has made it possible to locate oneself and be socially networked while on the move. This affects not only the way we connect to other people and to information while moving through connected physical places, but also the ways that spatial infrastructures connect to us and keep our traces. Urban mobility inequalities thus become virtual as much as physical.
We no longer enter so-called “cyberspace” as a virtual realm—instead we carry it with us and are potentially immersed in it, especially with the emergence of augmented reality and ‘hybrid space,’ which combines physical and virtual realities. Indeed, we are distributed in and through hybrid space, just as it is distributed in and through everyday life.
For example, as user-generated maps and location-aware mobile devices become commonplace for smartphone users today, one’s position, defined by latitude and longitude coordinates, also becomes the entrance to the internet. According to this logic, location works as a filter that determines the types of information we access and the way we interact with the spaces around us. Some (but not all) can access its diverse affordances even while moving. Others (without smartphones or credit cards or billing addresses) are excluded, falling through the cracks of technology, though perhaps picked up by the occasional CCTV camera.
Mimi Sheller, Mobility Justice: The Politics of Movement in an Age of Extremes.