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WRITING SPACE

      Jay Bolter (1991) describes the various generations of media in terms of writing spaces. The original writing space, corresponding to my first generation, is memory. This was subsequently augmented by the writing space of print (my second generation). The third generation is largely ignored. However, I would suggest that a drawing space be added to accommodate it, and to avoid the continuing privileging of the dominant left hemisphere. Bolter argues that the computer (my fourth generation) retrieves pictorial writing space, which was peripheralised by print. Within his terms, virtual reality/cyberspace is the ultimate writing space. It enables media to map isomorphically on to the objective world (window function of virtual reality) and to map isomorphically on to the subjective map (mirror function of cyberspace).

      Now that we finally have a media which represents the whole nervous system, a positive prosthetic which fits, a three-dimensional tool which mediates between our three-dimensional brain and our three-dimensional world, we have to reconsider our current dependence on one- and two-dimensional tools, and our continuing use of the computer as a box to bury old one- and two-dimensional media. We typically use the computer as a typewriter to do one-dimensional word-processing. It is necessary to proceed to two-dimensional idea-processing, in which the computer is used to generate the hierarchical structure of thought underlying the sequential presentation of language, and to three-dimensional hypermedia, in which it is used to nest more nodes within any node and to link any two nodes within the hierarchy. This three-dimensional structure is isomorphic with the cognitive structure of the subjective map, viewed as concepts with relationships between them, and with the informatics infrastructure of the objective world, viewed as computers interlinked with telecommunications.

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