Mediation: Space – A step forward, or a step too close?

I feel that this week’s readings on mediation through space serve to support Scannel and Hartley’s theories on mediation through time, but also raise some significant points of their own. I particularly enjoyed the online reading by Hay, My Space? Firstly, however, I will discuss Moores’ The Doubling of Space.

I’m sure in all cases, Moores’ article prompts readers to recall certain situations in which they feel they are ‘doubling’ their presence through media; for example, watching a live rugby league match on television whilst discussing it over Facebook comments with friends; maybe videoconferencing for work; or using Skype for contacting family and friends overseas. I used to flatly believe that our ability  to transcend space through contemporary media was an exciting and convenient concept; however after reading Moores, I was alerted to several ideas that perhaps waver my opinions. For example, the permeability of new “situational geographies” and “virtual societies” and the ability to assume online characters and alter egos, as discussed on page 28:

“According to Turkle… ‘the obese can be slender, the beautiful plain…’ selves may now exist in ‘many roles’ and ‘many worlds’ at the ‘same time’.”

This passage reminded me about our study of Second Life players in last week’s lecture, and the way they assume new identities and ‘live’ their lives in virtual existences perhaps based on imagined fantasies of the player. I was reminded also of South Park episode Make Love Not Warcraft, in which the characters become consumed by an online existence that their own lives become neglected in subservience to their virtual selves. (I would attach a link, but my computers been really slow this week! I’m sure there are some clips on You Tube). To clarify my argument here, I’m suggesting that although a ‘plurality’ of space can be incredibly advantageous and convenient, there is a certain darkness or threat from such shifts in space that one must be wary of.

Another example of this ‘darkness’, before moving on to Hay’s article, is the ability for transcendence in space to enable transcendence in emotional contact; by identifying with the ‘intimacy’ portrayed by celebrities and media figures, we become vulnerable emotionally through our phemenological experiences with space. This is evident through the recounts of public response to Princess Diana’s broadcasted funeral service, from Moores’ article.

Finally, I found Hay’s My Space to be an interesting read, particularly his notions of our mediated lives as spaces in which our activities become like web ‘applications’; aligning the modern man with the machine. He noted how our social networking sites are essentially platforms on which we ‘manage’ an image to fit virtual contexts, which I find incredibly true, however much I might regret to admit it. Thus, an existence in virtual space cannot be representative of our existence in physical space, although scarily, soon that proposition may be reversed, as it seems virtual space only continues to dominate and infiltrate our day to day existence.

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    • s2juliee
    • March 29th, 2010

    i really like your interpretation of the first reading the doubling of space.
    you explain it really well and make it really easy to understand.

    • Penny Spirou
    • April 11th, 2010

    Lauren,

    Blog Feedback:
    You demonstrate an understanding of the core arguments and purposes of the readings and also engage by providing your own insights. You clearly identify the key concepts and their components, however, you are yet to engage with your peers’ ideas and incorporate them into your weekly blog posts.

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