280MAPA research diary #3

Postdigital Space

I never got a chance to think about the difference between space and place as I thought they imply mainly the same thing but according to a german philosopher Martin Heidegged, space is abstract and place is the awareness of space (space with a meaning)(Collins and Selina 2015). Space can be digital too.

With the technology evolving at unbelievable speeds, our space is digitalised more and more everyday. An example could be a game called Geocaching. It involves the players following GPS maps on their phones, reading clues and instructions and looking for hidden “caches” in a secret manner. The players get fully immersed in the secret digital Geocaching world as they have to pay attention to the most random public objects, follow clues. It is interesting how the players and non-players have a different understanding of the space. Non-players probably will never pay attention random bushes, alleyways or rubbish bins, but people taking part in Geocaching see a bush, a bench, etc as a potential Geocache hiding place.

A major deal-breaker was the augmented reality game Pokemon Go which showed hundreds of millions of users that you can combine the fictional/digital world with the real space. Again it involves using GPS on your phone and following the map to find and collect Pokemons which appear to be in players real-life location, I find the concept of this particular game really interesting because it is quite unusual of games promoting physical activities. Even though it motivated people to walk (exercise), dozens of people got injured because of getting too involved and losing track of the real environment.  With AR games it is really easy to fall for the hyperreality traps. The main idea of hyperreality, according to Jean Baudrillard in “Simulacra and Simulation” is a “representation of reality” (ideology) and when “the real is no longer real”, Pokemon Go players lose track of reality and can’t consciously differentiate the two worlds (actual and digital). The fiction seamlessly blends in with reality.

To summarise, I would like to point how accessible the digital world is fro each and every one of us is. You don’t necessarily have to play the games to be involved. Even when you travel and follow the Google Maps directions you are in your own digital space. Depending on your intentions, we all can customise our own real and virtual spaces.



*** Baudrillard, J. (1994) Simulacra And Simulation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press

***Collins, J. and Selina, H. (2015) Introducing Heidegger. London: Icon Books Ltd

*** What Is Geocaching? (2018) available from <https://www.geocaching.com/blog/2018/03/what-is-geocaching/&gt; [6 March 2018]



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