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Creative Media Theory (2): Cyberspace and cyberculture

Submitted by on 26/07/2011 – 14:25

Another excerpt from Elena Stepanova’s essay, “Research Methods and Theoretical Perspectives” (2011).

We have turned into a global information society that includes everyone as a fragment of cyberspace. Electronic media and the Internet in particular act as an extension of the person, physically attaching himself, his brain, memory, vision and hearing in one information system in the world. Professor Herbert Marshall McLuhan fifty years ago expressed the proposition that media technologies allow external extension of man, his physical capacity of his organs and senses, thus turning the world into a ‘global village’. As soon as the Internet became widespread, cyberculture was established.

Internet, a virtual state with its own culture, territory and population, is independent of national or political boundaries. When it comes to cyberculture in general, it should be understood as a collage, mosaic, cut from an endless variety of different subcultures, realizing itself in cyberspace of the global network. Undoubtedly, the fragmentation of the Internet correlates with the fragmented postmodern culture in general. Networks help to promote a “tribal psychology”, embodies the desire of people to speak in small groups, united by certain interests shared by individuals.

In his book “Cyberculture” Pierre Lévy describes the new ‘knowledge space’, the World Wide Web, as open, fluid and dynamic. In contrast to linearity, hierarchy and rigidity of structure of traditional knowledge, the new space is unstructured, disordered, non-linear and rich with information (Robins, and Webster 1999, p. 222). According to Lévy, the relation to knowledge is transformed: “in contrast to archaic orality, the direct bearer of knowledge is not the physical community and its bodily memory, but cyberspace, the region of virtual worlds, through which communities discover and construct their own objectives, and come to know themselves as intelligent collectives” (Cyberculture, p. 197). This statement is supported by Margot Lovejoy who in the book “Digital Currents” writes: “Knowledge no longer exists in fixed canons or texts with epistemological boundaries between disciplines but rather it exists as paths of inquiry seeking integration and meaning by passing through them without any precise limit or location.” (Lovejoy 2004, p. 227). Undoubtedly, the new technocultural state of the planet, the information and communications technologies that underlie cyberculture expand and enhance human cognition (Levy, 1997).

References:

1. Lévy P. Cyberculture. — Paris: Editions Odile Jacob. — 1997.
2. Lovejoy M. Digital Currents: Art in the Electronic Age. — New York: Routledge. — 2004.
3. Robins K., Webster F. Times of the Technoculture: From the Information Society to the Virtual Life. — London: Routledge. — 1999.

© Elena Stepanova, 2011

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Елена Степанова — звукорежиссер, музыкант, автор статей и учебных материалов по звукорежиссуре, музыкальной аранжировке и композиции, истории музыкальных технологий.

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Elena Stepanova is a sound producer, musician, author of articles on sound engineering, musical arrangement and composition, history of musical technology.

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