As I’m sitting in the classroom of multiple cultural dispositions, I can’t help but notice how fresh and different the view of time and space is nowadays. Even just several decades ago, it would have been hard to imagine so much diversity in the classroom located in a predominantly Asian-oriented society. Or perhaps if we thought of a place, we would imagine it with physical properties. It would be even harder to comprehend the ease with which we can just reach out to anyone, anywhere in the world with an instant message, or buy something made halfway across the world and have it in our hands in a few days time.
” If all clocks and watches in Berlin would suddenly go wrong in different ways, even if only by one hour, all economic life and communication of the city would be disrupted for a long time. In addition, an apparently mere external factor: long distances, would make all waiting and broken appointments result in an ill-afforded waste of time. ” (Georg Simmel, 1903).
But here we are, and as I’m sitting in the classroom with dozen other students enjoying their break time, I casually discuss political affairs of my country with my Canadian friend while shopping for a set of antique handmade chopsticks meant as a gift for Indian newly-weds – this surely gives a different definition to the concept of time and space, as it shows they could be more abstract than our traditional understanding of these terms. This is where the media jumps in. As explained by Simmel, it appears we see an undeniable bond between technology (media in this context) and time and space around us, whether we’re talking about economy, politics, science or entertainment. Every and any form of disruption to the media channels is guaranteed to have a lingering effect on the said environment.
” The very word “globalization” is a fake. There is no such thing as globalization, there is only virtualization. What is being effectively globalized by instantaneity is time. Everything now happens within the perspective of real time. ” (Paul Virilio, 1995).
If all these media outlets were suddenly taken away from us, it is certain we would feel the hindering effect for quite some time. I myself would be affected significantly, should I choose to tell a story online and tomorrow, ‘online’ simply ceased to exist. That way, my concept of time and space would once again become much more limited as I would only have the ability to tell my story to people in my proximity.
Provided that the ‘online’ communication channels remain intact, however, time and space remain quite fluid and my story is easily reached by millions across the globe. Evidently, it is certain we cannot deny the powerful abilities of the virtual media space and time; especially as we witness the perpetual development and subsequent change of our world because of it.
1. Simmel, G. (1903). The Metropolis and Mental Life, BlackWell Publishing.
2. Virilio, P. (1995). Speed and Information: Cyberspace Alarm! CTheory. Retrieved from: http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=72