Fuzzy Boundaries, Strange Negotiations: Problems of Space, Place and Identity in Cyberspace

Fuzzy Boundaries, Strange Negotiations: Problems of Space, Place and Identity in Cyberspace

Andrew Wenn (Victoria University of Technology, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-930708-18-1.ch018
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Abstract

In 1997, attempting to focus attention on the imploding boundaries between organism and machine Mizuko Ito wrote about multi-user dungeons (MUDs). These are communities where people who have created online personae come together as a virtual community and act out roles in ways that they imagine this person would. Whilst others have extolled the virtualness of these online worlds (Benedikt, 1991; Heim, 1991; Rheingold, 1995), Ito showed us that there are other ways of seeing that reveal these worlds as a “complex interaction between a network of various ‘real world’ material technologies as well as the cultural capital of its users and designers” (Ito 1997, p. 91). Whilst much of Turkle’s (1996) book focuses on life beyond the screen and people’s behavior in what many see as the virtuality of cyberspace, towards the end of the book, she hints that there is a physical world that these “cyberplayers” are bound to and will ultimately die in (1996). In a rather more pragmatic vein, Cringley reminds us that some one has to do the wiring, that there is a complex material technology beneath all this. It is this interplay between the virtual and material technologies that I wish to explore here.

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