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Monday, December 31, 2012

Imagining the virtual 

The idea that the virtual is constituted by the work of the imagination on tangible material phenomena only really started to take shape for me on the recent Las Vegas (!) trip. In the paper I gave with Julia Gillen, I think we brought the role of the imagination in virtual world gameplay to the fore. This came back to me on listening to the mathematician Robert Kaplan on this excellent radio discussion about virtuality. He talks about the thin line between the virtual and the actual and the constant acts of negotiation between the two. Kaplan also quotes from Midsummer Night's Dream - I only wish I'd remembered that in writing for the virtual literacies book. The passage, spoken by Theseus goes like this:


And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.

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