Creative Appropriations in Hybrid Spaces: Mobile Interfaces in Art and Games in Brazil
Research on the use of mobile technology in developing countries often highlights how they serve as strategies to bridge the digital divide and foster economic development. However, mobile technology appropriation in the Global South is not limited to these cases, as evidenced by Brazil’s well-established media arts community, which has embraced mobiles as interfaces for art making since the early 2000s. Based on fourteen in-depth interviews with mobile communication researchers and media artists in Brazil between 2011 and 2013, this article investigates the creative appropriation of mobile technologies in the production of hybrid spaces. Our results reveal that these creative appropriations, namely mobile art and locative art, can be described through four main nodes of articulation: motivations, creative processes, sponsorship, and promotion. The experimental nature of these projects invites us to look at the Brazilian media art scene as a materialization of a circuit of innovative mobile culture and as an indication that investigations about technological appropriation in the Global South must be expanded to include motifs other than the already-known utilitarian purposes.