Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Non-places. Places which we talk about, which we pass through, but which does not take on the cultural meaning of a place, where the history isn't or history, where we do not experience the place as much as we experience out own presence. This is the kind of places Marc Augé discusses. Since I picked the book up to see what it could say about computers and computer games, I have been focusing on the sensation of the individual presence rather than the historical presence. But that's wrong, the net and computers very much build their places up around culture and history. There are entire wars fought over territory online.

If you look at the Sign Up Boards of Bianca's Smut Shack, which once was a friendly place for people who wanted to dream and share sexual fantasies online, you find that it has become a battlefield where fantasies and information has lost the battle against the flamers. So is it a place or not? For those who have established a circle of friends, a social status, a reputation connected to their personae through careful nurturing, even a sex-chat site can be "a place". For those who surf through it becomes a non-place, an other URL where they stop to empty the toilets of their mental caravans...

And what are these blogs but a kind of travel-reports? The good ones, the ones you want to return to over and over to see what happens now, they are descriptions of a journey, not through geographical space but through time and digital space. But is it a non-place? Still a few pages to go... But for me, this book makes the geographical metaphor of the net stronger and more functional.

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