The doctoral dissertation of M.Soc.Sc. Mikko Villi entitled Visual mobile communication: Camera phone photo messages as ritual communication and mediated presence will be publicly examined at the Aalto University School of Art and Design (address: Sampo Hall, Hämeentie 135 C, Helsinki) on Thursday 20 May 2010, at 12 noon. Opponent: PhD Karin Wagner, Chalmers University of Technology.
“The core function of photo messaging is in mediating presence and establishing a momentary, photographic connection between people separated by distance. Photo messaging represents fleeting visual chitchat rather than photography documenting the passage of time. Thus, the effect of mobile communication on photographic conventions is that the uses of personal photographs can partly take a more transient and momentary role. They function as communicative objects through which people engage with each other, helping them to form a connection in the present, as opposed to a connection between the past and present.” In his doctoral thesis, Mikko Villi studies visual mobile communication, in particular camera phone photography and photo messaging – the interpersonal communication of photographs from the mobile phone.
The intellectual puzzle which instigated and initiated the study is, what kind of communicative practices can build up from the convergence of a telephone and a camera? The phone and the camera are quite different as communication media – the phone is a medium used for synchronous interpersonal communication, whereas the camera is oriented for documentary purposes. The disparity as well as the interaction between the phone and the camera in the camera phone lead to the main question of the study: how are the conventions and practices of mobile phone communication manifested in interpersonal photographic communication when using camera phones?
The academic background of Villi’s work is in communication studies. An important aim of the thesis is to conjoin the study on mobile communication with the study on photography. Visual mobile communication is assessed by using a framework consisting of two themes: ritual communication and mediated presence. In addition to a theoretically oriented analysis, Villi utilizes results from an empirical case study concentrating on the photo messaging practices of a group of Finnish camera phone users.
M.Soc.Sc. Mikko Villi has worked as a researcher at the University of Art and Design Helsinki, University of Tampere and University of Helsinki, where he has also held the position of university lecturer. Currently, he works as coordinator of educational operations at Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland. Villi has both researched and taught subjects related to mobile communication, visual communication, social media, multichannel publishing and media convergence.
Mikko Villi, GSM +358 50 569 2149, mikko.villi[at]taik.fi
The doctoral dissertation Visual mobile communication: Camera phone photo messages as ritual communication and mediated presence is published in the Aalto University School of Art and Design publication series. Orders and review copies: TaiK Publications, tel. +358 9 7563 0319, books[at]taik.fi, www.taik.fi/bookshop.