Thursday, October 4, 2012

Network Culture

After reading Terranova’s Network Culture, I was struck with a question of space and time, which were the main aspects that were dealt in Anderson’s Imagined Communities. In Terranova’s book, she talks about how “cyberspace” is creating new sense of time and space, rather than being the virtual reality. A quote from the book says, “the contemporary debate has shifted onto the terrain of globalization…now the image is that of a common space of information flows in which the political and cultural stakes of globalization are played out.”(42) The terrain and common space that she refers to here is the network. With dynamic topological formation and its sense of “real time” that happens simultaneously, informational milieu, what we call ‘cyberspace’, generate unprecedented sensation of creating global network that gives each one of us the sense of belonging. To simply put, we are being physically and electronically connected and being placed by the network. Our email address, Facebook pages, and IP addresses give us a sense of where we are. This emergence of physical and electronic space generates new effect.
“ The relationship between communication and community, which within modernity was mostly confined to the boundaries of the nation, is today problematized by a kind of geographical dispersion. Mediated communities are no longer mostly enclosed by national boundaries, but increasingly materialize at the intersection of manifold connections… The emergence of a global and differentiated communication matrix has also foregrounded the power of communication to undo bonds, rather than simply reinforce them- a feature that is particularly troubling for the modern association between communication and community. “ (145)
A film ‘Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry’, which was filmed in China by a Brown alum, Alison Klayman, to show the artist Ai Wei Wei’s life and how his arts has such a powerful impact on Chinese citizens and their viewpoints of the politics and blur the boundaries of arts and politics, is an example of today’s global village which is held by a “single communication infrastructure.” Ai Wei Wei is an international artist who posts provocative and direct messages and art works on social media platforms- the place where people around the world can come together and voice their opinions no matter where they are. It’s not only residents of China, but many Chinese and non-Chinese living around the world who are becoming a part of this invisible village that is built upon one man’s idea. He may be in China typing his thoughts on keyboard, but the next minute there will be hundreds and thousands of people around the globe reading his messages. But I guess my point is, what exactly are we trying to decipher here? What are we trying to make sense of these homogeneous empty time? I understand that we are being part of a global village and the globalization is taking over our world, but what are the foundational ideologies that we are trying to decompose? And what makes it so important? How can we utilize this medium at the same time? What are the advantages and disadvantages? What can we do about this phenomenon? I guess I have too many questions to ask, and too little knowledge to answer for myself.

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