The Phantom Limb Dimension

Another week, another lecture, another blog post for DIGC202. This time I’ve made a short video talking about the strange relationship between people, the web and the 3rd dimension.

There are a few things which I know I could have explained better or fleshed out more, but given the word/time limit on these posts, I edited a bundle of those things out for the sake of brevity. I am, after all, infuriatingly verbose. Perhaps instead we can talk about those things and more in the comment section below.

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8 thoughts on “The Phantom Limb Dimension

  1. Great video !- Its funny how we try to grasp the internet/ technology as often something physicial. because im so used to such items like ‘folders’ and even the ‘desktop’ being called that, you made me think about ,uch it actually helps us to grasp the true and confusing concept of it all. It’s like space- gives you a headache if you think about it too much! nice job.

  2. I’ve also noticed this tendency to describe the web with somewhat spacial characteristics. I think this has something to do with us as humans trying to come to terms with what the web actually is. If we don’t use these types of metaphors it can get quite hard to grasp such an abstract concept. I think of it in the way of humankind trying to understand the concept of nothing and nothingness, like before the universe existed. Often this idea of blackness and darkness comes to mind because we just can’t understand this idea without referencing something we know. I think we use these metaphors as tools, otherwise we end up with a brain overload. I know I’ve been in the dark spiral of trying to comprehend nothing or a new sense, etc. all too many times.
    I really enjoyed your video, you should definitely make more. You’ve got a great presence and I think you looked at this topic from a really interesting angle.

  3. I love the description of the web as punching windows into alternate dimensions – it’s such an incredible piece of technology when you really think about what it empowers humanity to do. I guess if we’re truly ‘in’ the web like Ted suggested, while technically it may not be spatially correct our rationalising of online spaces as 3D spaces like rooms and sites certainly works well to allow us something to grasp easily when grappling with how to define and understand the internet. Very interesting video, Dael!

  4. I think the reason why we use these spatial metaphors is because of our capitalist and consumerist predilections. If we couch the web and digital information that’s produced in it, in a language of space & territory, it equates it to something we already know how to buy and sell i.e. tangible property.

  5. I feel like a lot of the concepts or ideas of spatiality of the internet stem from the original attempt to understand a massive world inside a space that isn’t psychical. The web is nothing like the real world and thats whats great about it but we continue to try and connect the two to make them understandable but that’s also a part of the english language and part of humanity so I am not going to lose sleep at night over some of the spatial terms.

  6. Isn’t that something humans always do, though? We always personify and compare in order to explain new concepts to others, and the terms eventually stick. TV “channels”, game “stages”, i’m sure there’s tons of examples we just take for granted nowadays. Doesn’t make it any less interesting, mind, just not sure it’s strange per se.

    • Forgot the obvious one, desktops covered in wallpaper with folders filled with files and plenty of windows, there’s all this imagined depth (“desktop” is referred to as “work environment” in portuguese), because it’s just much easier to understand than “graphical interface lists of memory references”.

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