“Space is not a collection of pre-existing points set out in a fixed geometry, a container, as it were, for matter to inhabit. Matter isn’t situated in the world; matter is worlding in its materiality.”
(Barad, 2007: 180-181)
I spent one evening this summer speaking to a Computer Science lecturer visiting from a university in Ireland.
We found each other in the sea of tech workers at a party in San Francisco and decided to pair off for the evening with a bottle of wine.
As the afternoon faded, fog began to roll across the bay. She was absolutely mesmerized by it and we spent our time staring into the clouds as they overtook the water.
She broke the silence, “There’s no other place like this.” I asked her what she meant.
“The way the landscape changes with the day and the night … it’s like the earth is breathing…one big inhale in the mid-morning, and one big exhale at night.”
I leaned back in my chair, “Well, it’s not as poetic as fog over the Bay, but I guess Florida's version would be a cloud of mosquitoes which descends in the evening and dissipates in the morning.”
She didn’t laugh, but seriously pondered on the thought.
We sat in silence as the landscape enveloped us.
In thinking about space, I think of breath, and in thinking about the breath, I think of space.
With every breath - deep, held, staggered, eupneic - we express our lived spatialities and engage with space, but we also fundamentally change the chemical composition around us.
There is a deeply intimate co-creation happening at our very lips. Just as simple as existing, we create and are created.
In experiencing the world spiral into chaos in the glow of my computer screen, it became clear the digital was not merely a mediator between the physical, it was not a mode of space-time compression, it was not just a producer of a hybrid space.
What are digitalities to the co-creation of space?
One cannot truly attempt to parse this between the physical and digital, the human and non-human, there is only instantaneous dynamism.
What is the digital if not the shifting and taming of light - the completely ephemeral but deeply felt.
What is the digital if not the compression of light into the pixel, the organization and mapping of light onto a Cartesian grid?
How does one capture the essence of light, its movement?
It is part of that dimension which staggers the breath, just like the flood waters rushing underneath the door and the ash falling from the sky, the dimension where landscape consumes the body and co-creation is visceral.
There is an otherworldliness in our reality which has not been addressed, a deep disruption to the aether which demands we bear witness.
Digitalities as a landscapes, digitalities as spaces, digitalities as viscerality.
… “The pastoral life, which had been Welsh history, is still another Welsh present, and in its visible presence...it is a shape which manifests not only a consciousness of history but a consciousness of alternatives, and then, in a modern form, a consciousness of aspirations and possibilities.” (Williams, 1979: 223).