and Kelly Sue have futurephones. So does my
friend Lauren. It
started when I got an email from Matt reading "my phone is the space
phone", with a photo of him and Kelly Sue attached. They're usually
called picturephones here in Britain -- mobile phones with camera built
in, and a bit of something that lets you email them out. We just call
'em futurephones. Jean Snow in
Tokyo has been beaming shots from his futurephone on to his website for
a little while. Joi Ito's been doing it a while longer. LA woman Xeni Jardin just started,
and is catching some really good stuff -- a mechanic talking to a car
computer with a laptop, wardriving with mad geeks stealing wireless
access in a car tricked out with weird tech, a rare sighting of Phil
Spector out and about wrapped in a black velvet cape.
I have no futurephone. It is very sad. If I could get my handheld
computer bit to talk to my wireless modem bit, I could probably fake it,
but my bits don't want to talk to each other.
One of the things I like about graphic novels is that they're relatively
quick publishing. Sf author Cory Doctorow was marvelling, when I saw
him last Sunday, that I wrote the foreword for ORBITER in February and
the book saw print in April. "If I'd done this in books, it would have
seen print in like 2008."
Futurephones, and wireless computers, are instant publishing. Jean
Snow's site is a particular indication of the future, having three
streams of publishing, from text diary to hi-res photography to
futurephone shots. I think Kelly Sue's looking at something similar,
setting up her futurephone to publish to a sidebar on her site, a
rolling stream of where she is and what she's seeing.
It's referred to as "moblogging", for mobile weblogs -- hideous bloody
word. But as more smart creative people get hold of this technology,
the more chance there is of an immense potential being realised.
An awful lot of the creators featured on this site started out
photocopying their work into mini-books and selling them the next
day. That was as instant as things got, which was really pretty bloody
impressive. I remember when photocopiers were the size of a dining
table. I also remember when they got down to the size of a packing
crate and started appearing in corner shops, where you could use them
for, say, five pence a copy. Five minutes later, Eddie Campbell would
be down there with his new mini-comic, doing a deal with the old boy
behind the counter and banging off two hundred copies. And then
spending all night binding them by hand, by agency of firing a small
stapler through the spine and into a polystyrene ceiling tile, taking it
out and bending the arms of the staples over with his thumbs. At the
London comics markets where they were sold by agency of Paul Gravett and
Peter Stanley's Fast Fiction stall, there'd be fifty people standing
around with grey bruised thumbs, trying not to drop their pints.
(And Alan Moore, in an immaculate white suit and a white silk fedora,
buying one of everything and telling everyone to keep going.)
This was creative people taking advantage of a technology that had made
it down to consumer level -- the same place futurephones are now.
Web publishing is getting interesting again. It may not prove useful
for my particular medium, but the idea of it certainly powers my brain.
And there's always the possibility that if you can take an image out of
a futurephone and put it on a website, then maybe you can push images
off a website and into a futurephone...