[Air-l] An Internet without Space or Time is Nothing 

Maximilian Forte mcforte at kacike.org
Wed Feb 4 07:11:35 PST 2004

Forgive the techno-reductionism here, but the Internet is not an entirely
intangible, ethereal cloud of disembodied ideas either, possessing only a
fictive geography. It does have a "real" physical dimension as well, always
implied in the concept of "digital divide", i.e. actual machinery
distributed throughout geographic space--computers connected by telephone
lines and cables to servers in turn connected to other servers and
computers, and so on. That is as much of a real space as any other space
that I can think of, and it certainly does take up space. And that "where"
is also its "when", to the extent that temporality is connected to the
traveling of messages, data, images, whatever, throughout that hardware
space. What makes "cyberspace" real for me then is that, unlike another
mechanical tool (such as a jackhammer), this machine has something going on
within it, human communication. That people create spaces for meanings
within another space of enabling hardware only seems to validate the use of
both spatial and temporal visualizations of the Internet.


Maximilian C. Forte
Anthropology & Sociology
University College of Cape Breton

More information about the Air-L mailing list