Creative interventions in digital borders: the coevolution of technologies and individuals in digital-physical space in Mexico City

Fuentes Barron, Aide Violeta (2021) Creative interventions in digital borders: the coevolution of technologies and individuals in digital-physical space in Mexico City. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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This thesis proposes a set of visual and technological practices for materializing digital borders. Mexican Culture and Mexico City are used as the basis of a critical media analysis that explores the ways in which culture, technology and individuals co-evolve.
With an interdisciplinary approach bridging Media, Communication and Cultural Geography, I examine modes of online communication as explored through observational analysis and iterative creative practice. My practice-led research operates as both action and theoretical reflection on the work of Nigel Thrift (space and the city), Mark Graham (internet geography), Guy Débord (psychogeography), Eduardo Navas and Matthew Fuller (art and technology) in order to expand knowledge across disciplines.
Mexico’s complex positionality on the map (being both represented in Latin America whilst forming part of North America) and the particular technological innovations generated from this location provide a new perspective on the field of Media Studies, which tends to centre its analysis from a U.S.-based or European viewpoint. A focus on creative interventions that combine Mexican culture with Western elements and that mix elements of pop-culture with Mexican tradition highlights the complexities of a situated socio-cultural analysis in an era of global media. In this study, technologies and individuals are seen to coevolve based on the limitations of the geographical spaces in which they are intertwined; yet in a time of networked media cultures, cultural expression expands beyond the boundaries of its space of origin.
Chapter I presents a spatial analysis of digital borders using psychogeography as a creative intervention. Chapter II addresses a specific media technology, Mexican memes, and uses magic(al) realism to discuss memes as an extension of self. A particular quality of the creation and re-appropriation of memes in Mexico involves humour as a default communication mode. Chapter III describes the liveliness of Mexico City as a media ecology, by looking at the city in a moment of crisis, the 19th September 2017 Quake in Mexico City. A creative intervention addresses and contrasts the experience of the quake in the physical place against an online experience in order to analyse the relationship between emotional affect and technology. Finally, Chapter IV discusses the application of media practice to the study of Digital Borders by discussing the iterative process of creating a digital art installation. Creative interventions (as exposed in previous chapters) demonstrate the evolution of cultural expressions online. The limitations of creative expressions are materialized as Digital Borders.
This project uses theory as a creative tool to produce analysis through practice. The role of practice that informs my work is deeply rooted in the use of visual analysis, interviews, online data and ethnography which create meaning through the act of making. Practice becomes both action and reflection: creating videos, consuming online content, experiencing the quake, and learning new software techniques all form part of an iterative process for the analysis of the creative interventions that individuals bring to technological interactions.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > Media and Film
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and communications > HE7601 Telecommunication industry. Telegraph > HE7760 By region or country > HE7821 Mexico
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > P0087 Communication. Mass media
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering > TK5101 Telecommunication
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2021 10:55
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:48

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