Up to this stage of our century we’ve been thouroughly pursuing, embracing or simply reacting to models that once before were commonly approached as science fiction, Myths that were produced in that rich dialog between the imaginary and the possible, desire and technology. It is rather foggy to assert if we shape the future or if it’s the future that shapes us.
I was looking at this video and some others from Blaise Aguera y Arcas presenting the Projects he leads in digital mapping. Appart from the technical achievements showing off behind these services developed at Bing maps and the interesting aesthetic results of their concept, there are, furthermore, some hints about the coming “internet of things”, where the physical is mapped to the bits and viceversa. Indeed, at some point in the video you get a feeling of place and time dislocation that might be useful to get you out to research on the topic.
What is interesting to remark is that Mapping became the new obsession of IT and Telcos. A major “need” of our new world seems to be that of not allowing ourselves to ever be lost, but also to be able to tag and mark everything we see in its digital representation. GPS, huge user-generated databases around the web and some experiments with generative 3D animation make it now possible to gradually re-create the world inside the digital modell of it and increase its resolution, hence enhancing our experience of the mediated world. It is really base on need? Need for speed? For Information?
I just remembered, that one of the myths that I as an infant enjoyed the most from cyberpunk literature, was the later popularized idea of the matrix, or cyberspace as Gibson first called it. That space within spaces, simulated, perfect architectural illusion mapped to the real world but with different properties, dis-place of information trafficking, entertainment and international crime. In the rules of a classic sci-fi RPG called cyberpunk, different areas of the matrix could have different degrees of resolution going from wireframe (Something like Tron or an Atari shooter game) to life-realistic, this one being something like, well, basically like life itself or the one we know from the matrix films. This degree of renderization was also a fashion-related issue, each site owner defining the degree of realism, look and feel of their matrix presence, and more importantly, was geographically defined. So basically this kind of architectural sites would be mapped to a geographical location in the matrix-map of the world and being at someone’s place in the matrix was the equivalent of actuelly being there, at least in that huge world representation. Somehow each place on that model was holding its own server, not so dislocated as our actual cyberspace is like.
So far, the presence of this imaginary, if we might call it so, can be depicted in cyberspace as we understand it now: Media branding, social networks, web presence… all seem to be a simplified application of that Virtual Architecture. Websites are commonly not geographically related, but real places soon will offer access to many virtual places on top of them… We are seeing, alas the big software corps., that our bidimensional cyberspace surface is also beginning to change massively towards an indeed more realistic set of spatial metaphors intertwined with, and accessible (If ya buy the right tool) in real space. It’s not about the VR googles and the electrode suit, It’s like moving away from VR to enter the world of “we don’t know where we exist”. Dazzling.
Some more links about the internet of things, if you allow me. Just to finish:
(Got to be a Windoes guy if you want to check the 3D stuff, it seems. Non-existing help for Mac Users…)