• No results found

Cyberspace and the Virtual Space

Internet, Cyberspace and Cyberfeminism with Focus on Afghanistan

2.7 Cyberspace and the Virtual Space


governments controlling over the use of cyberspace since it has been a vast technology (Baber & Khondker 2002: 141).

Cyberspace is a type of social space where communication is technologically mediated and that is organized on a global time-space scale. Its subsystems are specific virtual communities, that is, topic- and interest-oriented social systems that make use of specific Internet applications (such as newsgroups, chats, mailing lists, ICQ , peer-to-peer technologies etc.) in order to establish communication that is globally stretched in time-space. A virtual community is not a space that is constituted by shared values, identities, or traditions but a shared interest in certain issues and communication oriented on these topics. Cyberspace does not mark the end of space but the acceleration of communication and the extension of some social systems to a global scale (Fuchs 2008:148). Therefore, cyberspace may be a vehicle for new forms of alternative radio, television, film, art, and every form of culture as well as information and print material. New multimedia technologies are already visible on different web sites (Kellner 2011:11).

Cyberspace has been a communication system where everyone is a sender and receiver and greatly proliferate the range and diversity of voices which undoubtedly gives a new dimension of the concept of information and cultural overload. It was amazing that the cyberspace for large number was deco modified and was becoming more and more decentralized and open to more and more voices and groups.


In other word, people establishing websites means that they are establishing their own virtual space. Interactivity between remote computers defines cyberspace. The move from nodes to nets for cyberspace is created through communications, connecting humans. In cyber place the spaces created do not map in any one-to-one relation onto real places, but cyberspace is particularly not imagined space. There is global time, belonging to the multimedia, to cyberspace, increasingly dominating the local time-frame of cities and neighborhoods that leads to a talk of substituting the term ―global‖ by ―glocal‖, a concatenation of the words local and global. This emerges from the idea that the local has become global and the global, local. Such a deconstruction of the relationship with the world is not without relevant consequences of the relationship among the citizens themselves (Virilio 1995:2).

According to the distinguished media theorist from Swinburne University, Darren Tofts, Cyberspace is the defining figure for a sensibility produced by mediated cultures (Darren Tofts, 15). In his experience cyberspace invokes a tantalizing abstraction, the state of incorporeally, of disembodied immersion in ‗space‘ that has no co-ordinates in actual space (australianhumanitiesreview.org).

The cyberspace constitutes a dynamic and complex space in which people can construct and experiment with identity, culture and social practices. It also makes more information available to greater number of people in easier way and from a wider array of sources than any instrument of information and communication in history (Kellner 2009: 18).

While reviewing cyberspace, it is remarkable to know that spaces are constructed not just through the objects and boundaries that surround human and the habitual ways which human beings conceive of them, but through interaction with others who are operating in the ‗same‘ space. Hollaway and Valentine theorize that young people build their identities by travelling across three main social spaces: home, school and cyberspace. And so this analysis will begin with the home space, and then consider the school space, examining how the physical, social and embodied aspects of these spaces interact with what we have come to call ‗cyberspace‘(Jones 2010: 154).

According to Michael Benedikt, distinguished professor of Texas University, there are some guiding principles for the design and building of cyberspace; principles aimed to produce usable, livable, but also magical worlds. These principles concern a


number of key issues; the dimensions of space and cyberspace, how to visualize cyberspace, how to distinguish different ‗data objects‘ in cyberspace, how ‗things‘

will ‗look‘ there, how we will find them, and so on (Jones 2010: 21).

The seven key principles of cyberspace design and build, according to Benedikt are:

1- The Principle of Exclusion – two things cannot be in the same place at the same time;

2- The Principle of Maximal Exclusion – rules to minimize violations of the first principle, for example, over how ‗big‘ and ‗dense‘ cyberspace can become;

3- The Principle of Indifference – ‗life goes on whether or not you are there‘, cyberspace has an existence independent of users;

4- The Principle of Scale – the relationship between the amount of information in space and the amount of space in space;

5- The Principle of Transit – even though we may move instantaneously, travel as an experience is important, as is navigation;

6- The Principle of Personal Visibility – users in cyberspace should be seen, at some minimal level, by other users (but we should also be free to choose who is visible or invisible to us);

7- The Principle of Commonality – there needs to be an objective, shared social

‗reality‘ in cyberspace, so that people see and hear the same things (at least partially) (Castells & Haraway 2007: 22).

Austrian-born British philosopher Karl Popper (1902 – 98) proposed the idea of the existence of three ‗worlds‘: World 1, the world of physical objects, events and biological entities; World 2, the world of mental events and objects; World 3, the world of products of the human mind, or abstract objects (theories, formulae, learning). He proposed that World 3 is partly autonomous from the other two, and that changes in World 3 can impact on Worlds 1 and 2. Today, World 3 is sometimes used to talk about cyberspace as an emblematic abstract ‗mind-space‘ (Castells & Haraway 2007: 33).

31 2.8 Cyberspace: Virtual or Real Geography

Michael Batty- British urban planner and geographer and Professor of University College London (UCL), in his article Virtual Geography says that real geographies are being changed through virtual communications while virtual geographies are being invented over the net that have little or no resemblance to the geography of reality. In fact, although real and fictional worlds were first developed inside the computer, these worlds are themselves emerging from the net itself.

This is Wiliam Gibson‘s science fiction of the near future: Cyberspace: ―a graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system, unthinkable complexity. Lines of light in the non-space of the mind like clusters and constellation of data and city lights receding‘ virtual geography‖

(Gibson1984: 51).

Michael Batty continues to define the reality and its variants as;

• Fiction;

• Abstraction, and

• Vitality.

He declares that the central distinction that everyone poses it between reality and fiction which once embedded within computers and across networks we define as

‗virtual reality‘ ((Batty 1997: 338).

He believes that there are clear differences between geography inside computers and geography inside computer networks. In fact, he claims that, there is a new geography of everywhere that is being created by the very acts of embodying computation within networks and within the material infrastructure of society itself.

Virtual geography is therefore the study of place as ethereal space, its processes inside computers, and the ways in which this space inside computers is changing material place outside computers (Batty 1997: 338).

The kind of geography that is emerging in this cyberspace is one that in its clearest form, mirrors local communities or interest groups linked through some common purpose as virtual communities, virtual self-help groups, groups that talk and


act across the net, informally, expediently, embodied in net- action, as ephemeral as

‗internet relay chat‘ to formal research groups such as those based on professional communication amongst peers involving frequently asked questions, preprints of articles, announcements of meeting in cyberspace as well as real place.

This is the ultimate quest of cyberspace use in that the net is used as a medium for the sharing of intellects in the pursuit of common goals or the resolution of common problems. It involves highly-organized decision- making, appropriate structures for relevant software, data access and use, and innovative ways of personal consensus building that have hitherto not been widely developed in society- at- large. The net thus provides new structure to action which involves a truly different development of institution of sociality (Sherry 1996: 27).

But cyberplace consists of all the wires that comprise the networks that are being embedded into human-made structures such as roads and buildings. It extends to the material objects that are used to support this infrastructure such as machines for production, consumption and movements that are now quickly becoming a mix of the digital and the analogue (Batty 1997: 337).