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<nettime> sadie plant interview
sean heaLy™· on Mon, 14 Jan 2002 20:35:26 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> sadie plant interview

well it's only a little one for a technology column:

but was fun to do, -
so thanx 2 whoever posted that fone company report url a while ago, for
enabling this interview to happen ;-)


Sadie Plant On Mobile Phones

Nostradamus nearly became the most popular boy at school last year,
accordian to search engine google. Wonder whether he would’ve predicted
that we’d suffer burst eardrums in 2002, from fearsome flocks of birds
evolved to whistle mobile phone ring tunes together? Alas, probably not.
Sadie Plant on the other hand, has the sort of juicy mind that may have
predicted such an occurrence. And she spoke on the fone, about fones for

And I’ll tell you why she’s worth a read too, why excited little me sat
recording her voice on a dodgy kitchen table answering machine. Wasn’t
b.cos she was commissioned by a phone company to produce a paper on the
social and cultural implications of the mobile phone, though that’s how I
snared the interview. Sadie Plant is also the juicily electric author of
‘A Most Radical Gesture’, ‘Zeros & Ones’ - the hidden history of women’s
role in the development of communications technologies, and most recently
‘Writing on Drugs’.

“It was a straightforward commission - would I be interested in doing some
research?,” said Sadie across the wires, and so began her ‘opportunity to
focus on the mobile phone’.

>What did you learn from your research?
It made me realise how quickly the mobile has gone from a yuppie toy to
being so widely available in so many parts of world.

>What do you think of the digital divide and that half the world’s never
made a fone call?

Well the mobile is making a big difference - obviously that’s by no means
happened yet... but it’s the first piece of technology with the potential
to do that... and increasingly mobiles can be used for accessing other
information such as the net. In the UK it’s bringing change to people who
had been cut off from all kinds of useful information and economic
information actually. In a future Afghanistan, it’ll never be easy to put
in telephone lines, but mobile phones can bring telephony and net to
remote places like that. (Sadie spent 4 months in Pakistan on the Afghan
border b4 s11).

>Have u had any phone dreams?
God what  a question, I don’t think I say I have - though that would be
a good sign of how well mobile phones are integrated into our everyday

>What are some of the politics of the mobile? There are some very
imaginative and politically interesting ways of using sms, and sms is
almost the most interesting thing about mobiles. People seemed to find
that capacity by themselves and it’s been marketed to them later. Text
messaging adds to their capacity to communicate with people around the
world. The technology of communication is only one side of a broader thing
happening - increasing mobility. People get spread but networks of friends
survive in ways they never would have before. We have a new culture of
mobility, of working on the road, with huge movements of migrants etc...

>Reading of Late?
All sorts - 19th Century novels - Joseph Conrad, lots about Afghanistan,
this Swiss playwright, Friedrich Durrenmatt... who is becoming more
popular now that he has had a book filmed (‘The Pledge’, directed by
sean penn).

>So *where* are we when we’re on the phone?
Er Birmingham..(laffs) I  have no idea. You and I are in our own little
space that somehow involves you, me, our telephones, Brisbane and
Birmingham. So many people just say now - I’m on the mobile...’

>What’s next?
I’m trying to write a novel, not exactly a novel but something a bit
more fictional. I spent some time recently in Islamic countries - and I
hope this book will somehow draw on those experiences.

jeanpoole {AT} octapod.org
ark-hive(d) at www.octapod.org.au


Sadie Plant Stuff:
Extracts, articles, interviews, nuff to meltdown anyway.

Some people dislike public mobile fone usage so much, they wear giant
mobile phone suits and go around stealing and smashing stranger’s fones.

Conveniently, they videotape these moments so u can see them too.

Page title: “This page makes me want to cream on myself”
Frontpage quote : "I wish I was black. Then I could have a white
Like you’re not already there.

Big Cancerous Things
There seems so many pages with ‘scientific’ reports with postive or
negative things to say about cancer’s relationship to mobile phone
usage. You can always try telepathy, or maybe soothe yourself by these
pictures of oz-icons from the big prawn to the big peanut.

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