Judea Faith


Metaphors of the Internet

Image from Metahaven

Image from Metahaven

The Internet is everywhere and nowhere. It has no face, but just this name that describes everything and nothing at the same time. This contention to define the internet has gone on for decades due to its absence of structure and form. Thus, the impetus for this piece of writing was the dualism between cyberspace and real space — and how this could metaphorically give the Internet a face.

Metaphors are traditionally understood as a linguistic structure that implies similarities between two ostensibly dissimilar things. The ‘essence of metaphor’, as George Layoff and Mark Johnson explain, ‘is understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another’ – one of which is familiar, the other usually less so. This writing has also been constructed in a non-linear fashion to allow comparison and questioning of the inclusivity or exclusivity of each metaphor.

The metaphorical language used intends to parallel the Internet against the geographical spaces that we are acquainted with; our homes, our travel destinations (sites), and our city streets. We will be exploring ‘space’ as emptiness, location and congregation; each proven popular terms of use, yet also proven contentious and restrictive. Here, it is crucial to understand the term ‘space’ not as something solely tied to locality, but a multidimensional vacuum of directions and velocities. With this pluralistic attitude toward space in general, we can proceed to understand the Internet as an “actual space”, rather than a consensual hallucination occurring at the social level.

Read full essay here (page 5 onwards )

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