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The Virtualization of Place: Art, Culture, Technology

By Troels Degn Johansson


The concept of place has for a long time been on the agenda as a key problem of Modernity; not only in geography, but also in, among others, philosophy, anthropology, architecture, landscape studies, and art. Lately this discussion has been extended into the study of the Internet and its cultural impact, for instance in respect of the representation (or extension?) of geographical places in virtual realities and hyperstructural communication environments. This paper compares so-called cybergeographical conceptions of the Internet’s influence of the character of place (Batty, Dodge, Goodchild) with French sociologist Pierre Lévy’s concept of the virtualization of culture and French art theorist Nicolas Bourriaud’s relational universes; notion of virtualization that takes place in art. Whereas geographers have emphasized that the character of place is about to change by way of virtualization as a result of the globally distended infrastructure of the Internet, one would claim— following Lévy—that the virtualization of place just a part of a general virtualization of culture. The question is here whether the virtualization of culture should be understood as an entirely technological issue, as in geography, or whether we ar

Year: 2011
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