Recently co-created internet spaces have taken on the quality of physical spaces in my mind.
I communicate with people through video chat. When I skype with someone, I often "feel" three distinct "spaces."
- The physical reality where I reside. It includes my dining room table, my computer, my body, hands, fingers, eyes, keyboard, screen.
- The physical reality where my skype partner resides. Which includes her computer, her room, her body, eyes, fingers, her keyboard, her screen. I see this on my screen and can imagine her reality, similar to my own.
- Then there is the "third space" - a temporal reality created between us. A non-physical "channel" that picks up at the "back end" of my screen and ends at the "back end" of her screen. This space exists on multiple levels. It consists of hardware, software, wires, signals, browsers, apps and internet connectivity. But it also consists of the connection we make through the "window" of skype. The content and intensity of the connection in my mind with/to the mind of the other person.
During one call, I was reminded of Alice, through the Looking Glass. I love the opening scene in this Mickey Mouse spoof. My computer screen feels a little like this. Opening to a non-real space where both participants exist.
A Third Space?
It's as if, for the duration of the call, we create this "third space" between us. What is this third space created between us? Composed of material stuff as well as our minds? I know where the material stuff resides, but where does the "space" where our minds connect reside? My imagination? Your imagination? A Hofstadter Strange Loop? Some quantum world?
Are these worlds much different from the ones writers have with their characters? stories? Some kind of Cool World?
My Own, Personal, Portal
More and more, I feel my mobile phone - I anthropomorphize it to the screen on my mobile phone - is a portal, my portal to interacting in alternate, real, but also virtual world. It "feels" like Second Life, but it's not some place - it's every place. It's made up of real people, not avatars.
I didn't always think of this "third space" as an actual space. It's been emerging slowly, beginning with my awareness of The Global Now: a phrase I use to describe geo-temporal awareness through shared friend-node experiences (sms's, status updates, tweets, instagrams).
It's something that seems obvious to me now. Especially after exploring the ways technology is increasing intimacy. With the internet, mobile phones, SMS, instagram and other apps, we have a direct tunnel into each others minds. I have a connection that is more emotional, stronger, deeper. I connect with the part of you that you share. I experience what you experience - in a way.
I don't know where this leads, but I know the world has distinctly changed.