Just the other night we were discussing what impact the new wave of camera-phones would have on personal communication. One thought was that in the same way that text and email have created a resurgence in the written form - albeit somewhat debased - humans will always be far better at communicating visually. There's less margin for error.
Ultimately, every mobile phone will contain a camera. To start with, when bandwidth is tight, resolution is low and moving images are all but impossible, we imagined that exaggerated facial expressions would become the norm - gurning, grinning, thumbs up, fingers pulling sides of mouth downwards, etc. - a kind of physical text message abbreviation. Gradually, text message conversations will be replaced by a stream of imagery.
How will this work in practice? David’s
link to Seewhatimtalkingabout.com
showcases one of the first online experiments with the new medium (he got it from here
). A couple of surprises. For a start, the resolution and definition is top-notch, so there's very little room for ambiguity. Also, the four people creating these 'conversations' are art students, so their sense of the visual - colour, composition, etc. - is perhaps heightened (it's like comparing a writer's text messages to a non-writer: in our experience writers are less likely to use snappy abbreviations
, instead choosing to input whole words).
Regardless of these caveats, the sample
page from the project’s publication is fascinating. It illustrates one such ‘enhanced’ conversation - complete with visual puns, ‘sampling’ from different media such as television screens, and the exaggerated illustrations of moods and locations. It will be an interesting future.