Is Reality Enough for Us?: Ready Player One's Electronic Migrants Looking for New Identities in Cyberspace Age

Is Reality Enough for Us?: Ready Player One's Electronic Migrants Looking for New Identities in Cyberspace Age

Mikail Boz (Yozgat Bozok University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3201-0.ch004
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Abstract

With the development of information technologies in the 20th century, a new type of space in which the social or individual life of the human being is exposed has emerged. More and more individuals are creating a representation of themselves through the avatars they have in these worlds, mostly designed as games. With the advancing technology, there is a possibility that people will be able to carry their entire existence to these spaces in the long run, and it is possible to see examples of this situation in the cinema texts. In Ready Player One, Steven Spielberg focuses on people trying to get rid of their realities and to exist in virtual worlds in a dystopic future. In this study, the related film will be subjected to qualitative content analysis within the framework of the concept of migration and representation to cyberspace. In this way, the migration of individuals to virtual worlds in an effort to get rid of their reality and the effects of this situation in social life as a phenomenon/possibility have been discussed through the film.
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Introduction

With the emergence of mankind’s ability to dream and imagine, his ability to create specific “topos” that are different from geographical space also began to develop. When the new kinds of spaces imagined become a drawing, writing, myth or epic, again “utopia1” is a “place that doesn't exist”, but it has become a certain kind of reality for the people who imagine it. These spaces, set on the boundaries of the extraordinary and the fantasy, are places with certain kinds of social functions, whether it is to escape from the present reality or to show the possibilities that this reality can transform. Therefore, there is a continuous and rich relationship between the humanization of geography and the diversification of the special functions and qualities that space has. However, the understanding of space and its meaning have changed constantly. The transformation of “wild” and “untouched” spaces into humanized, culturally meaningful and shaped spaces, and the ongoing rich relationship between image and reality opened the door to multiple meanings of space.

One of these newest spaces is the type of space referred to as “cyberspace”2. This type of space is quite different from the classical geographical space. Just like the mythical places of the oldest kind imagined, they seem to have no claim to reality; they have been imagined. However, the development of telecommunications, information, computer and image technologies has transformed this type of space into a phenomenon associated with the field of human experience.

In the twentieth century, a literature has begun to be developed to understand this new place, which has become a reality and covers an important part of everyday life. Moreover, a significant number of researchers consider this age in which we live as the “age of cyberspace” (Whittaker, 2004, p.3). However, it is difficult to predict what “cyberspace” is, what kind of features and effects it has, and what kind of transformations it will undergo in the future. According to Benedikt, “Cyberspace itself is an elusive and future thing” and early definitions are far from inclusive (1992a, p. 22). This interpretation, expressed by Benedikt in the early nineties, is valid today. There is a constant tension between what the concept of cyberspace promises, possibilities and what happens. It is difficult to determine from today what kind of consequences the relationship with cyberspace will have. However, an increasingly large group of people are meeting this type of place, being there “online”, playing games and shopping. It is possible to characterize the continuous motion in this non-existing space as “electronic flâneur” (Mitchell, 1996, p.7), or “hybrid existences” (Adams, 1997, s.155). In this respect, as space in general has (Lefebvre, 2014, p.25), cyberspace has a history. It is a history that is still happening, written and to be written.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Reality: Reality literally means “everything that exists”. It has different meanings in science, religion and philosophy. Everything that takes place in time and space, regardless of thought, is real. The reality of anything is that it exists without being bound to the human mind.

Cyberspace: The notional environment in which communication over computer networks occurs. Cyberspace requires the interoperability of many system elements such as hardware and software.

Idendity: It is the beliefs, qualities, personality, looks and expressions. In social life, the identity of a person is related to the social roles he or she has. So, the notion of identity negotiation may arise from the learning of social roles through personal experience.

Migration: The process of various social actors travelling to a new place to live for various reasons such as war, natural disasters, or start a new life.

Virtual Reality: A simulated experience that resembles or is completely different from the world in which we live.

Cinema: Visual art. Each cinematic text goes through time and space. In the film, various actors act in various actions and try to achieve certain goals. Often, similar, or different kinds of experiences are simulated and recorded and edited with technical tools such as cameras.

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