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ARIN2600 2009 L6 Space


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Space is more than an empty container for things. It has its own features and forms: a psychogeography. It is created through movements and flows. Information technologies complicate spatiality by simulating space, contracting space with communication and locating actors in space. Remediations of spatiality are powerful features of technoculture.

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ARIN2600 2009 L6 Space

  1. 1. Technology and space Week 6 - 7 Session 1, 2009 Technocultures Chris Chesher Digital Cultures University of Sydney
  2. 2. Recent weeks • What we’ve found about technology • It’s experience • It’s freedom and control • It’s an extension of ‘man’ (McLuhan’s probes) • It’s part of us: we’re all cyborgs now! • It’s constructed socially • It’s conditioned by class relations (of kinds)
  3. 3. This week • Technologies help reconfigure how space is perceived, conceived and lived • Readings: • Saco: Hardware and software: a technotopography of cyberspace • Hrachovec: Mediated presence • Lecture:production of space • Social • Technosocial transformations of space
  4. 4. Henri Lefebvre • French Marxist • involved with Situationists (& later disaffected from them) — spectacular society; recuperation • ‘moments’ outside alienation • A moment? • Anne Niemetz’s 2002 ‘Curing homesickness with Situationism’
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  6. 6. Henri Lefebvre • The production of space (1991 in English [1974]) • space is not an empty, static container • space is produced: generated by interpenetrating spatialities to form present space • a unified critique must identify the generative moments and productive processes that produce space • expose and decode space
  7. 7. Spatial triad Representations Representational Spatial practice of space spaces physical space mental space social space (nature) (abstractions) (sensation / action) perceived conceived lived daily routines align with scientists, planners, inhabitants and users (& routes between places technocratic subdividers artists who just describe)
  8. 8. Production of space • ‘…walls, enclosures and facades… define both a scene (where something takes place) and an obscene area to which everything to which everything that cannot or may not happen on the scene is relegated’ POS p36 • Festivals produce different spatiality • Representations of space: • e.g. code of linear perspective (Renaissance)
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  10. 10. Models & Perspectives
  11. 11. Walter Benjamin • Arcades: urban spaces • Flaneur: idle, observer • Crowds: anonymity; movement • Link to surrealism (internal / external / randomness) • glass-roofed utopia
  12. 12. Harold Innis • Time-binding and space-binding media • Material basis in modes of transport and communication affect culture • Media bias (ideal of balance) • empires have spatial bias • time-bias authoritarian, hierarchical • Media: material properties, systems of encoding, and social arrangements
  13. 13. Informatic spatialities • Saco: bitspace; network space; cyberspace • Informatic spatialities: • Namespace (ASCII; IP addresses/ domain names) • Hierarchies (directories; layers) • 3D navigable spaces: polygons; collision detection • Relations; hyperlinks; experience of navigation • Games: floorplans, levels, gameplay
  14. 14. What kind of space is MySpace?
  15. 15. Digital spaces • Segmenting & sampling • e.g latitude/longitude; scanned images • Spatial compression • networked spaces; mobile media • Cybernetic simulations • computer gameplay; GUI; telepresence; Google earth
  16. 16. Jeffrey Shaw Legible city
  17. 17. Production of gamespace
  18. 18. Rider Spoke: Blast Theory
  19. 19. Yugo Nakamura
  20. 20. Next Week • Bruno Latour’s (1991) ‘Technology is society made durable’ in Sociology of Monsters • Tatnall and Gilding (1999) ‘Actor-network theory & information systems research’ • Bardini,Thierry (2000). “Inventing the virtual user’ in Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, coevolution, and the origins of personal computing. Stanford, Calif., Stanford University Press, pp103–119 & 249–251.
  21. 21. Essay questions • Q1. Analyse how YouTube appropriates and exploits other media, with reference to McLuhan. As a cultural form, is it closest to cinema, television or home movies? Justify your answer with reference to specific examples. • Q2. In ‘A cyborg manifesto’, Haraway identifies a contemporary transition from hierarchical domination to networked informatics of domination. Concentrate on one or two of the examples of this transition in evaluating whether the trends that she identified in the early 1990s have continued, accelerated or changed. • Q3. Trace the development of a standard of Internet software (eg web, email, swf, blogger), following a SCOT analysis. Has this standard found closure?
  22. 22. Essay questions • Q4. Compare & contrast different conceptions of how social class relates to information technology (refer to the readings on Class and technology). What are the implications of each analysis for policy and action? • Q5. Analyse the spatialities involved in a computer game you have played: both the space ‘inside’ the game, and the space in your house / arcade / internet café / remote networks in which you play. What is distinctive about the way this game works with space? Refer to the readings on technology and spatiality. • Q6. What is a machine? Compare and contrast Guattari’s concept of the machine with conventional dictionary definitions. • Q7. Write an essay that analyses how you will write / are writing / have written that essay; with attention to how the technologies you used contribute to your thinking and your writing. (refer to the readings on technology and thought)