Tuesday, March 7, 2006

"Mobile, yet tethered to one another"

Jan Chipchase on Ulan Bataar's mobile phone kiosks:

"The first time I ventured onto the street of UB I encountered an individual on the street holding what appeared to be a white landline..My first hunch was that they were selling used phones. As the day wore on, and more sellers were encountered it became apparent that they weren't selling phones, but rather telephony. A number of the so-called white phone sellers offer infrastructure akin to a traditional phone kiosk to support making a call - and this ranged from a wooden stand to hold the phone to a cushioned seat..To be frank it was a little unnerving, to see a white phone customer walking along the street with the white phone seller walking along side them holding the body of the phone, the cable dangling between them. Mobile, yet tethered to one another."

As much as I love this imagery of being tethered, I'm more interested in the photos themselves. (Check them out.) In them I see a woman in fashionable Western dress walking by a kiosk, a man in more traditional Mongolian dress selling the service, and female customers dressed somewhere in-between actually using the phones. I think these are really interesting cultural dynamics and I'm reminded of how much Jan's posts focus on material culture and technological infrastructure rather than on people themselves.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anne, U must truly love what u are doing....since April of 05 i have followed ur blog..And u have been kind enough to put up with my ramblings that really never coincide with what the topic is...

That said I have noticed that the only time u really mentioned the word Love "in the abstract" or wrote with Great affection was when u wrote about your Dad...

Keep Surviving, always, Michael:)

22:09  
Anonymous anne said...

Thanks - and yes, I do love what I do.

But I generally try to avoid writing about the people I love because I try to respect their privacy. My dad already has some sort of online presence, and he doesn't mind, so he gets my loving attention ;)

02:21  

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