Friday, August 15, 2003

The Ecotone community is blogging about weblogs as place today.



Look very closely at these words. If you lean into your monitor you will see that they flicker a little. Peer even closer and you see that each letter is made up of little squares. Take a magnifying glass to the screen and you notice that there is space between the pixels.



This weblog is about a place, but it lives everywhere. At the moment it lives right in front of you, little more than light shining in your eyes. Reading it may invoke a feeling of being here on Bowen Island, but it is not Bowen Island itself. It lives only on your monitor. Once I publish the words, they reside as tiny 1s and 0s on a server in Vancouver. When you reach them via a URL they fly at the speed of light to where you live and they embed themselves in your context.



Edward Hall and Marshal McLuhan and others talked about how technology extends our bodies from one place to another. The phone moves our voice boxes thousands of miles, past ears that are travelling in the other direction. Weblogs do the same with our thoughts. Those that I get down onto the keyboard become thoughts that you can read, thoughts you can interact with.



In as much as I believe that landscape lives in the mind, it is possible that what you are staring at is actually one kind of Bowen Island landscape. I recognize this, which is why I have mapped this inner landscape onto the maps of stories at the Bowen Island GeoLibrary.



But are weblogs places in themselves? I don't believe so. Come to Bowen, swim with me in the phosphoresence on a late summer evening with crickets and nighthawks chirping away and you will know what it is like to be consumed by place. The next click you make will take you away from this weblog, but it's not that easy in real life. When we are in place, we are rooted. We cannot leave without some part of us remaining behind, stretched out behind us, eventually catching up to where we now find ourselves. But with this weblog, perhaps with any weblog, we skim the surface, reside in the moment perhaps even try to peer into the depths.



And all we see when we do that is light.