Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cyberspace and Totality [S03]

Frederic Jameson’s concepts of totality, as well as the efforts of those within totality to cognitively map their way through it, recalls Manovich’s notions of the navigability of cyberspace. Both worlds explored in the essays, the real world (Jameson) and the virtual (Manovich), have become spaces through which we must navigate, which begs the question of how cyberspace and the spaces of real totality are related and might intersect. Jameson ponders the “new aesthetic” (347) which might successfully represent the cognitive map of totality – perhaps the internet/cyberspace is the form which might achieve this goal. The Internet seems to me, with its proliferation of various media and information and its limitlessness spatially (the Internet has no borders or boundaries, in theory), to be an aesthetic representation of totality, a form which encompasses the entirety of social relations and society itself. Like Jameson’s totality, the Internet cannot be fully, completely comprehended by any one individual (one cannot possibly have seen all webpages in existence); the process of exploring the Internet, then, is the process of exploring totality through this new form and the media/representations which reside within it. Thusly, to use the Internet is to navigate one’s way through its totality, or, in Jameson’s terms, to cognitively map one’s way through the totality of cyberspace. It seems to me, then, that the Internet is Jameson’s long-awaited form that might aestheticize both totality and the cognitive maps through which an individual attempts to grasp it.

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