Atmospheres of communication

Gabrys, Jennifer. 2010. Atmospheres of communication. In: Barbara Crow; Michael Longford and Kim Sawchuk, eds. The Wireless Spectrum: The Politics, Practices, and Poetics of Mobile Media. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, pp. 46-59. ISBN 978-0802098931 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Communications have often been understood as bound up with media devices. Wireless communication, however, presents distinct ways of understanding media as it exceeds the devices, interfaces, and wires through which we typically conceive of the medium of communication. Working initially with Marconi’s transmission of wireless signals between Cornwall, England, and Newfoundland, Canada, this chapter charts how that first wireless exchange, ‘dot … dot … dot’, relocates wireless media from the 19th Century ocean to the contemporary city, and multiplies towards a concentration of wireless exchanges that give rise to expanded ecologies of transmission. This chapter explores how an atmospheric mode of communication –like the ether, resonant and electric – delineates urban spaces that are characterised by emanation, presence, and surround. Originally presented in 2005 as part of the ‘Mobile Digital Commons Network’ symposium (, this chapter develops an investigation into wireless cities through reconsidering urban communication and exchange through atmospheric topologies.

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Book Section

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Published as part of the Mobile Digital Commons Network project, Canada.

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Funding bodyFunder IDGrant Number
FQRSC, Canada (The Digital City project)UNSPECIFIED
SSHRC, Canada (Mobile Digital Commons Network, MDCN)UNSPECIFIED

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Date Deposited:

09 Jun 2011 15:05

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 11:05


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