beam me up
guided tours

04.11.2008 12:39
beam me up - the main topic
The online publication Beam me up deals with aspects of symbolic, virtual, and physical space. A short introduction.
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beam me up - the main topic

Beam me up makes inquiries about our present-day appreciation of space, as expanded by the media. What is being called cyberspace and virtual reality opens up the vague idea of a space, thought of only as symbolical, which eventually also becomes a place of real presence and action. Beam me up, Scotty – this call, having become popular with the science-fiction series Star Trek contains as poetical charm the idea of transcendence between the most different space qualities. Indeed, physicists, today show for quantum mechanics’ bizarre world, the possibility of teleportation of photons, while cultural sciences stand up for a term like spatial turns. The change of direction toward a topical approach, toward spaces as a stage for historical and cultural events is being postulated. In comparison political Utopias (Gk not a place) seem to have no more room in the globalized society. Space gives rise to worry, Michel Foucault stated in 1964: We live in an age of simultaneousness, of stringing together, of the close and the far, of juxtaposition, and the scattered. Decades later, hungry Americans order their next-door-pizza by telephone via connections of call-centers operating from India, without becoming aware of their trip around the world by telephone.

There’s not only Newton’s space in this world – this uniform, nowhere marked, into each direction of equal value but sensory not perceivable being apart from each other. The space of our corporeal presence is different from the one of its visual presentation, and state borders divide other spaces than the gateway to the hereafter. There’s a multitude of spatial concepts and technologies to overcome distances and borders. According to Martin Heidegger we might find what’s peculiar about space by trying to listen to language. What does it speak of in the word space? In there speaks the clearing away. This means: to root out, to empty wilderness. The clearing away yields the open air, the open for a settling and living of man. Clearing away is the release of places. Archaic discoverer’s metaphors have also been marked for the WWW net’s space experience. In the WWW the navigational space of seafarers, surfers, pirates, and logbook writers presents itself to us, an astonishingly slowed down and clear world, when you think that already the early railroad with its unhurried transport velocity has made fundamental ideas of time and space sway. Heinrich Heine: Space is being killed by the railroad, and nothing but time is left. The Web’s virtual space can be traveled through, traveled across, and conquered like the first reality’s old space. Paul Virilio talks about an audio-visual vehicle one is using for this kind of travel. Movement on the spot, the advent of a last generation of vehicles, of means for long-haul traffic, as if the conquest of space eventually turned out to be the mere conquest of pictures of space.

Reinhard Storz
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