Friday, April 8, 2011

As I have continued my research on Magid, particularly in the different ways she collapses and combines physical spaces as well as individual spatial perceptions, I feel the result leads me to believe that what Magid does is not unlike the construction of cyber-space. In Aharon Kellerman's book The Internet on Earth, Kellerman discusses his definitions of different types of space. He points out that our human relationship to socially constructed spaces is through experience, perception, and imagination. Social space can be also at an intersection between multiple representations of space, such as the geographic and the imagined. Kellerman considers virtual space to be imagined space because it is merely a description of space and place rather than that space and place. He includes a table that charts real space versus virtual space and describes each one with a list of categories such as identity, content, space, matter, distance, time, etc. Sure enough, in the "experience" category, virtual space is imaginative and metaphorical as well as disembodied.

I find Kellerman's description of spaces reliable and consistent within the context of cyberspace, which is his focus for this book. That being said, what does Magid's space become if we create a third section for her alongside real and virtual, and then define her work in each specific category, such as "experience"? By acknowledging that her work occupies a third section altogether obviously elucidates how I classify it. I use my computer to access the videos of her evidence locker, which is kept in "virtual" form in the "memory" of Citywatch's virtual storage on the hard drive of a computer. I then watch Magid's short videos, later edited with computer software, and observe how she interacts with the very real geographic space of Liverpool. She is spatially constructing a social relationship to Liverpool via the Citywatch employees who interact with her through prosthetic cameras by watching and focusing on her with her knowing. In the final video Magid goes on a motorcycle ride with one of the Citywatch employees as another observes them with his or her "eyes." Her relationship to these employees and, therefore, Liverpool is socially constructed because, as I said in my earlier blog essay, her identity in Liverpool is interlaced with the Observers and her awareness of self through their "eyes." Magid interacts, very intimately, with a virtual aspect of the city's space: the Citywatch camera recordings that the employees later save to a hard drive in her evidence locker. Magid's Evidence Locker is (to build on a notion from my earlier essay) a collapse of real and virtual spaces.

Kellerman's idea is extremely narrow and compartmentalized, but this does not mean it is not also useful. More that he is limited in how he contextualizes very specific spaces that he has chosen to include. Magid's work complicates Kellerman's argument or even subverts the boundary altogether. The virtual space of Magid's videos is neither metaphorical nor imaginative, and she was very much embodied in the making of her work. Yet, she is not necessarily in a real space, either, particularly when I access her work via the internet. At one time she was in real space, but not for the Observers, whether the Citywatch employees or me.

This is an issue I continue to think about as I work on my research and explore Magid's work within the context of this class…

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