Thursday, May 16, 2013

Soccer and "Social" Networks

It's true. I've been a user of digital media for thirty years: noting its consumer growth, using it as an artist, choosing it as my profession, progressing with it through my career, teaching with and about technology, and exploring new realms. A most recent phase has been using digital media to pursue somewhat esoteric interests in world culture. With the amazing growth of the Internet, it's never been easier, and oh so fascinating. My interest in the postal mails (postal history and mail art) has reflected my interest in world culture for two decades. A relatively new passion for soccer (or futbol), while growing over the years, has firmly entrenched itself in my life over the past several months. I enjoy soccer over other sports because it is an international sport. And while you can't follow all the leagues (Morrocan Botola, Indian I-League, et al) focusing on a few allows me to compare and contrast how this cultural phenomenon is expressed in this everchanging world of technology. Case in point: I've been watching games from all over the world, in different digital formats. This allows me to change my media consumption habits in interesting ways. I subscribe to MLS Live, and watch live streaming games on my computer. In many cases, this is the only way to watch these games (LA Galaxy vs Philadelphia Union last night, for example). While this subscription costs a few bucks ($59.95 for the season), the games are typically in 720p. On local (air) broadcast TV, I watched Monterrey vs. Club America last night in HD, albeit inSpanish on Unimas, Channel 60.1 in Chicago. Previously I've watched Bundesliga games and Ukrainian Premier League games on amateur (probably illegal) re-streams that are found on the internet. These streams tend to be fuzzy; the quality does vary. This digital futbol tourism keeps me connected, informed and entertained, and allowing me to casually study the culture of an international sport. I am constantly looking up the placenames and learning about the stadiums, players, and futbol clubs. In this way, my casual study of intenational soccer is a lot like my interest in postal history and stamp collecting and mail art, where I connect with and study faraway lands (and often nearby ones as well). I've yet to visit the post office in Bridgeview, IL, but I've scoped it out on the USPS website. If you get a postcard from me in the coming months, check the postmark - it may come from south of 71st and Harlem.