In reality – you travel towards an object, you walk around it, examine it. Real space itself is static, and it is your own movement that brings dynamism into it. In digital space, the object finds you. Not do you travel in space, but the space travels to and around you. Fake space. In the digital world there is no difference between “here” and “there”, “close” and “far”, because these categories just don’t apply.

What really happens is that in the real world we are dynamic as a whole, while in the virtual world, the body and the mind get separated and the mind becomes a sole “traveller”. We have to “browse” and sort information to get to what we need – our mind is occupied. Our bodies are at rest.

By now, the virtual and the real have integrated so intensively though, that soon it will be no more possible to tell between them. Both worlds will be (read: already are) acting simultaneously in real time. You lead a [double] life as a person of flesh and bone, and, simultaneously, as a chunk of binary code in the system. In this case the virtual is additive to the real, because you still inhabit your own body, are still conscious of the real world, with the virtual simply “following”.

On the other side of the spectrum is what can be illustrated by virtual gaming – you inhabit a virtual reality and your body becomes an instrument of navigating that reality, although the body itself is a real-world entity. At the moment, the best you can get (in case of “shooter” games) is walking in a “wire-sphere” or on a dynamic mat in a dark room holding a “gun” in your hands, while playing an artificial reality projected onto screens around you and reinforced by your 3D glasses. In flight simulators, you “fly” a hydraulically animated cockpit. However, what happens if you get killed in that artificial reality? Well, at this point of time – nothing – the graphics of the games are reasonably bad and the machine has not yet gained full contact with your body. In “the Matrix”, however, you do die if you get killed in the virtual reality – it’s just so real and you’re “plugged in” so deep, your mind cannot distinguish between the real and the virtual any more. In case of a virtual death, the mind believes in it, “overloads” and dies in reality, while the body remains fully operable. In a way, I think that is why Neo was so special – he was able to distinguish between the real and the “Matrix” the best – he knew that, essentially, the “Matrix” was a game, a virtual reality that he could do whatever he wanted to do with.

What becomes of Architecture when the two worlds completely amalgamate? I do not know, but I sense amazing things! Because shelter from the elements, electricity and some sort of automated feeding system will become the only parameters that will need to be satisfied by architecture, it might gradually start returning towards its very beginning – “the primitive hut” – everything else will be taken care of. Architecture of then will have no more aesthetic considerations. The only thing needed will be a power socket.

A bit of an apocalyptic scenario, but interesting to imagine. Don’t think it will ever happen to this extent – we are all too human for that. But who knows..

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