Interactive Realism: The Poetics Of Cyberspace

1550 Words 7 Pages
In fiction, the digital world is portrayed through imagery and character. These are methods of communication that translate easily to audiences. In reality, however, discussions of the digital are described through metaphor and thought experiments. We seek to either concretize the digital through examining historical developments in technology or abstract the digital in philosophical debate. A third option, as proposed by Daniel Downes in Interactive Realism: The Poetics of Cyberspace, is to combine the philosophical with conceptualized social interaction.
The point of Downes’ text can be understood from its title alone. In examining a large number of digital theorists, he supports his own theory of interactive realism, which suggests
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Downes is a scholar of media theory, popular music, and media ecology. He received his PhD in Communication from McGill University and later became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He specializes in and has written on the topics of new media economies, the effect of media on social structures, intellectual property, and music traditions in American culture. Currently, he teaches Communication Studies at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John (“Dr. Dann Downes,” n.d.) .
Introduction: The Inventio Fortunata
Downes sets forth his theory of interactive realism, which emphasizes reality through digital artifacts, to help us understand content and experiences within the digital. He also notes the importance of the “poetics of cyberspace,” which he defines as “the collection of metaphors and representations that organize, influence, and constrain our thinking” in cyberspace (Downes, 2005, p. xiv). The poetics become the central focus for the text.
Chapter 1: The Dual Specificity of
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Clearly, he is educated on the matter, and his text is meant for those like-minded. However, this shortchanges other types of readers who may have some interest in the topic. Interactive Realism is purely for an academic audience, particularly scholars who are already familiar with theories of digital media and computer philosophy. A well-versed reader may enjoy the plethora of writers alluded to, and unnecessarily expounded upon, in the text—getting lost in the text may be fruitful for research. However, it is otherwise overly complex, tangential, and maintains great expectations of

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