Examining what the author calls ‘small-screen panoramas’, a set of software-based digital panorama services that provide the production and navigation of panoramic photographs available for users’ experience on small-screen devices (laptops, mobile phones, tablet PCs), this article argues that the panoramas’ algorithmic view and movement signal an emerging visual regime that remediates the scale and mobility of their pre-digital predecessors. Digital compositing technique reinstates the sensory and epistemological conditions of the panoramic, ‘tourist’ gaze of modernity as it combines discrete pictures of a location into a 360-degree seamless visual field that proffers an immersive form of spectatorship. At the same time, however, the applications undermine the visual field and spectatorship of the traditional panorama as their technological features activate the embodied, material, and contingent aspects of mobile media spectatorship: the portability of laptops and mobile phones and the applications’ algorithmic streamlining of 2D photographs. These examples, the author claims, demonstrate that, despite the applications’ efforts to create seamless virtual 3D images, they lead to the paradoxical coexistence of the animated and the static, of the immersive and the miniaturized, and the embodied and the disembodied.
mobile screen media
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