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The Choreography of Communication

Notes from my movement anthropology research in NYC:

The movement, or lack thereof, of human communication

The thing that disturbs me the most when walking around, and I am just as much at fault, is how everyone is consumed with their devices, mostly iPhones or Androids. Mapping is obviously a major use of phones in large cities. Headphones in or not, talking on phone, carrying it, staring at it while walking, sitting on the subway sucked into your phone, why is there this cultural phenomena that makes it acceptable to let your movement and attention be absolutely controlled by these small devices. Even at dinner with my friends, no one can go through a meal without checking their phone or god forbid, sitting on it and texting for minutes at a time. What happened to the world of discussion, attention, verbal communication, action, etc? There seems to be a disconnect, and for some reason unknown to me, it gives me an uneasy feeling and I’m absolutely intrigued by it. Perhaps, it’s because I value human connection, discussion, and quality time, but there’s something just not right about it all. I guess I’ve realized it in Richmond as well as Lexington, my time abroad last summer, but for some reason, it seems exasperated in NYC. Perhaps, because of the concentrated amount of people in small areas. In my video, it takes away from the natural beauty of the pedestrians, it ruins it for me. I have a nosy habit in elevators and subways lately, I try to look at what is so absolutely enthralling about people’s phones. Often, they are scrolling through Instagram, group me, Facebook. Part of me would probably excuse the behavior, if they were texting their sick child at home, checking the weather, making an appointment, sending an urgent work email, but it really doesn't seem to be the case from the small amount of observances I’ve made. So what does that say about our culture? Where are we moving? Already, it seems that young children, middle school, are getting iPhones and Instagrams, is that inhibiting their social development? Is it harder to meet people nowadays in this digital age where everyone seems to be sucked in to this virtual world, and not into the physical world around them. So in short, yes I am stick interested in how people move through a space, and how environment effects that, and gender differences within that space…but this is a hiccup, and a hiccup that I’m not sure I can ignore for the moment.

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