draft Configuring the Dancer: engineering the future dance
To some extent then we can see the attempted definition of a new audience using established media images and music. But the app also requires an audience with – at the very least – access to a smartphone or table (and initially at least until the Android release, an Apple iOS phone or tablet), the technical knowledge and ability to download an app, set up a user account, work the app itself with its video shooting facility, followed by a willingness to dance in a more or less public space, and the willingness and technical ability to access the game’s website, navigate other videos, interact with voting systems and other possible social media features (comments, shares, etc.). Whilst these technicities are unremarkable (though we should be wary of assuming their universality) amongst many young people today, they are significant as –even if easily achieved – they are stages and operations that must be worked through. The audience must be engaged by the interface, the buttons, and not put off by loading times, possible bugs, etc. The app is imagining a technically as well as semiotically active audience. Digital audience studies at the very least must acknowledge the agency of complex technologies as well as its usual concern with human participants. I will argue that, at the very least, digital media such as games and mobile apps configure their users just as a user might configure a game or phone. Indeed, I will argue that any reassuring conceptual or practical distinction between user / audience and technology / media is unsustainable.