Salvatore asks: "Can bodies, architectures, geographies, relationships,
emotions, cities, information, research processes represent proper spaces
for new kinds of publications?"
Yes, becuase we are in a digital age,an age that creates spaces, and every
space is a place for narrations and fruitions.
Someone mentions the McLuhan "cyberspace", (SPACE), someone (Roger) talks
about synthetic biology as a "new approach to engineering biologu" and
"biometrics" (METRIC)... Space.
Canevacci introduces cities and ubiquitous ethnography... Space.
I try to consider the question of the space, narrations, fruitions, body and
information with my following state:
"Space: the final frontier"
"Du siehst, mein Sohn, zum Raum wird hier die Zeit"
("Here, my son, Time becomes Space")
Richard Wagner, Parsifal
Digital creates space, it interweaves in real space and stratifies it. It
goes beyond and it augments, in all fields. Therefore the most significative
feature is creating space, expanded and augmented, inter-related and in
depth, usable in different media and displays. It deals with this spatial
dimension (that is a philosophical dimension as it not only involves the
fruition of texts but also the same way of thinking). Publishing also frees
itself from the technological chain of printing machinery (manual,
mechanical or digital) and it frees itself from paper support.
Therefore, digital no longer and not only as technology, but also a
³macro-medium² that encompasses, hybryds and generates new supports,
displays, media and texts. A macro-medium that first of all encompasses (the
concept of ³remediation² theorized by Bolter and Gruisin1) and then hybryds
(Le Manovich gives the best definition of ³hybrydization² as a subsequent
step of ³remediation²2).
The book as well, or rather publishing in general (newspapers, magazines,
books, maps, drawings), has undergone and undergoes these two phases. In
this way we have a new publishing space as a newly generated with a new
D.N.A. the result of media intersection.
We are going towards a publishing (web-magazine, newspapers on line, e-book
and books in augmented reality) where we are hardly able to separate
different texts such as videos, movies, drawings, diaries, mails,
Therefore publishing defines itself as a new space like overall space is the
fundamental dimension of the ³digitalization² of our societies and
What kind of space are we speaking about?
"Expanded Space": as primarily there is the mass of inserted and insertable
data: a library, a museum, an archive and a store-room virtually infinite.
"Hybryd Space": result of the hybrydization of different media and different
texts. No longer a sum of media and texts as the multimedia work was in the
¹90, but a true and proper new work, new kind, new creature. Hybryd among
writing, images, audiovisuals, real and virtual. Hybryd among texts as
diaries (blog and vlog, for example) and journalism, enciclopedic entries
and interviews, reportages, essays, messages, advertising....
"Augmented Space": as it increases the possibility to partecipate.
Partecipation makes it virtually infinite, because it overlaps and
stratifies floors and places realizing a not-narrative, not-chronological
(but diacronical) and not-linear fruition. Excess space that cumulates
"Ubiquitous Space": as it is transversal and continually crossed-over. For
this reason it is not-located or better still ³dis-located² elsewhere and
forever in fieri. Ubiquitous because it does not stay in a place but at a
crossroad between real and virtual space. Ubiquitous because generated by a
maker that is also a user and viceversa. Ubiquitous because it is a space
that sprawls out and grows in depth.
Therefore publishing as a space, expanded, hybryd, augmented and ubiquitous.
An audio-visual space usable on different digital displays. A fruition that
witnessses new comunicative and aesthetic models based on partecipation,
surfing and sailing (Glenn Entis defines this by using the term
- A tree and a city: two symbols
Noah Wadrip-Fruin and Nick Momfort remind us, for example, of how Jorge Luis
Borges has already used the metaphor of a tree to define a data
organizational system3. And the REFF Book4 of augmented reality uses a tree
as a symbol of the user: a threedimensional tree in augmented reality that
identifies each individual book user and his experience with the book
itself. A virtual tree that grows and changes depending on usage.
The tree witnesses the contemporary publishing shape in a simple and
functional way. The software is the root: a writing that previews the
creation of a text that develops, changes, takes shape, grows in autonomy
(or rather: indipendently from his author). Where are the roots? It is the
user himself who will plant his own software and will decide on how to
revitalize it. The root absorbs lymph (read: data), it flattens or dries up
depending on the user; the same root/software previews usage no longer and
not only as reading, but also as partecipation. Taking care of the root that
is underneath (just like the software is ³underground²), alllows the trunk
to grow, to take shape, and the text to become visible. A text that produces
leaves, flowers and blossoms depending on usage and contacts. Its shape
(different from the root/software but also from the trunk/text staticness)
is made up of leaves, flowers and fruit that, on one hand, make it a unique
tree, as the individual user. On the other hand, a new potential text
germinator. A wood and a forest sprout up, at random and entangled... an
echosphere continually changing.
The forest is the symbolic image of a free echosphere unplanned and
unmapped. But also the contemporary city escapes from the utopia of modern
urban planning5. The contemporary metropolis moves towards two main
directions: in depth, because it is able to build little towns like inside
itself, such as the shopping malls or the gated communities or the ethnic
neighboroods (imagine Los Angeles or Las Vegas, real and true symbols of
postmodern metropolis). In depth also because within it virtual space (more
and more invasive) it acts. Such as digital communication, videophones,
geomapped systems, on line communication, CCTVs etc.
Metropolis is going to contain comunicational fluxus, prepares urban media
screens that interweave places. Augmented reality becomes an augmented
space, a place that increases, not the different points of view, but the
space itself. The other movement is the sprawl, an expansion without any
order, control and a coherent organization. Sprawl transforms cities into a
living and mutant organism that preserves the traces of a linear project
(the Modern city), but it increases often convulsively without any control
based on the needs of his users (citizens).
City like a forest (someone says ³jungle²): a moving space, hybryd and
ubiquitous. It is not a unique text, but it is a shared space, generated by
the crossroads of different texts.
Therefore the tree and the city simbolically witness a new space, a digital
macro-medium that first welcomes texts and media, then it adds them up and,
in the end, it hybryds them.
Going back to publishing... Publishing is a map of space, places and texts
that migrate and overlap, grow and generate.
Digital is not a language and it has not produced one and the computer is
not a medium. It crosses specific languages and specific media. We are in a
new space now, hybryd and crossed over, partecipated and shared. Traditional
publishing now is going beside this new space, it tries to find forms of
mediaton (such as e-books or web-magazines) and it will resist as an
indipendent form, maybe hybryd, while the space (³iper²?) of digital texts
resets the traditional ones. It resets the concept of author, of
publisher... it resets the difference between supports and media. In this
space we must throw our glance, a critical, curious, analitical and
So I am trying to define a new kind of user (texts users) and this different
- An explorer, who uses his body, his mind and his sensations to look for
- A citizen, who lives the space for his job, amusement, friendships etc.
generally speaking, for his social life.
- A botanist or a farmer, who grows his texts and communications.
- A colonist, who occupies places (with problems connected to a new
colonialism of financial and market power).
1. David Jay Bolter, Richard Grusin, Remediation. Understanding New Media,
MIT Press, Cambridge (Mass.) 1998.
2. Lev Manovich, Software Takes Command
3. Noah Wadrip-Fruin, Nick Momfort (ed.), New Media Reader, MIT Press,
Cambridge (MA), 2003.
4. Cary Hendrickson, Salvatore Iaconesi, Oriana Persico, Federico Ruperti,
Luca Simeone (ed. by), REFF, Derive e approdi, Roma, 2010.
5. See: Edward J. Soja, Allen J. Scott (edited by), The City. Los Angeles
and Urban Theory at the End of the Twentieth Century, University of
California Press, Berkeley 1996; Edward J. Soja, Thirdspace. Journeys to Los
Angeles and Other Real-and-Imagined Places, Wiley-Blackwell,
Cambridge/Oxford 2000; Edward J. Soja, Postmetropolis: Critical Studies of
Cities and Regions, Wiley-Blackwell, Cambridge/Oxford 2000; Giandomenico
Amendola, La città postmoderna. Magie e pure della metropoli contemporanea,
Laterza, Bari 2008; Michael J. Dear, Eric H. Schockman, Greg Hise (edited
by), Rethinking Los Angeles, Sage, Thousand Oaks (Ca.) 1996.
6. See: Giuliana Bruno, Atlas of Emotion. Journeys in Art, Architecture, and
Film, Verso, London-New York, 2002.
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