Tuesday, February 24, 2004



The first issue I would like to raise comes from the very beginning (p.184-5) of Chapter 5 of Telecommunications and the City. The piece that I entirely disagree with comes from Paul Virillo, who says, "solid substance no longer exists; instead a limitless expanse is revealed in the false perspective of the apparatuses' luminous emission. Constructed space now occurs within an electronic topology..."

To say that, "solid substance no longer exists", Virillo must be entirely out of his mind (not to mention this was written in 1987 before the average person even had a personal computer). Solid substance is everywhere you go. People continue to work their jobs in the city, sitting in a leather chairs at office buildings in cities around the globe.

Is the virtual world a "limitless expanse" as well as a "false perspective of the apparatuses' luminous emission"? It is very easy to question whether anything can actually be "limitless", and to offer an example of what exactly I am proposing I would recommend taking a look at the cartoon on page 191. A limitless entity would not require someone to make a choice between that entity and something else, because limitless implies being all inclusive. What I am trying to say is that we can not virtually drink beer. We can not virtually exercise, take a shower, or eat dinner either.

As far as a false perspective goes, I am unable to question the reality of our messages. They exist in a physical sense, but for all we know someone's little brother, dog, etc. are actually posting under their identity. A perspective is a view, which is essentially an opinion, and opinions are not necessarily right or wrong (true or false). Also consider that there is no barrier that prevents this from happening in the so-called "real" world either. We tend to live with a feeling of mutualistic truth, or just "taking someone's word for it". This same feeling holds in the "virtual" world, more or less because it is simply a creation of the "real" world.

Virillo's final mistake, which I have already mentioned is the idea that "constructed space occurs within an electronic topology". This just the opposite of the way things actually are. How would virtual space even have been created without constructed space, whether it be the garages where Excite was born, or CERN, where Berners-Lee created HTML.

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