That short walk gave me a taste for a longer one Shijiazhuang Travel and accordingly I set out the next day from behind the lamasery, taking a path which Shijiazhuang Travel had no signs saying Closed to Foreigners’. For a while I walked in the company of a dark-skinned man who twirled a handheld prayer wheel. It was a hot sunny day. From the bald hilltops there were clear views across valleys and villages to distant craggy ranges. On one hilltop was a tall prayer flag, a banner hanging downwards with many small flags attached. Keeping to the ridges I bypassed the villages but could see down into the square-walled compounds, the gardens and trees, donkeys and yaks.
Finally, de Souza e Silva and Hjorth suggest that we might understand contemporary mobile urban gaming by drawing an analogy with the spirit and practice of the contemporary, French, sub-culture, called Parkour’. Invented by David Belle in a revision of martial art and military moves, Parkour sees the city as a series of physical obstacles to be overcome. The art of Parkour, through the act of the traceur’ (the person doing Parkour), can be a mode for new ways of experiencing a city and its temporal spatiality. These new exercises of the urban challenge conventional notions of urban cartographies and bounded spaces. The radical reinscription and rewriting posed by urban mobile games parallel and enact Parkour through mobile media technologies. Through contemporary examples of urban games, LBGM and hybrid reality games, much can be learnt about changing definitions and experiences of the urban, mobility and a sense of place (de Souza e Silva and Hjorth 2009).
By way of contrast with these three analogies that focus on the physical spaces of the city, other researchers have emphasized the interaction between the senses and media technologies. One way of comprehending these new economies of screen engagement is through conceptualizing the visual cultures of the twentieth century in the light of twenty-first-century haptic screen cultures. For Chris Chesher, gaming is not an engagement of the gaze, nor the glance, but rather somewhere in between: what he characterizes as the glaze’ (2004). According to John Ellis (1982), twentieth-century media, like TV or film, were predicated on types of packaged media’ engagement in which TV was ordered around the domestic engagement of the glance, whereas film deployed the gaze (Ellis 1982). While TV’s small screen is ordered around the distraction of the domestic as a continuum of radio’s mode of address (hence radio with pictures’), film – with its larger than life images -set in the context of a dark, semi-public room, is focused upon the all-consuming gaze. TV produced celebrities (branded, familiar people) while film produced the distant and aura-inspiring stars. Ellis argued that the framing of TV as film’s poorer cousin did so by privileging the visual – a comparison that is not only counterproductive but also fails to address the significance of the aural in screen cultures.
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