Cyberspace as Representation of Space Experience: In Defence of a Phenomenological Approach

  • Lars Qvortrup


This article is about cyberspace as a name for virtual spaces created by virtual reality techniques (virtual reality hardware and software). Thus it is about a special 3D interface concept, not about the Internet as a metaphorical communication space. The message of the article can be condensed into three points:
  • Cyberspace should be understood neither as something constituting a parallel world (referring to a dualistic paradigm), nor as a representation of the real world (referring to a positivistic paradigm), but should be conceptualized as a representation of the space experience of human beings (referring to a phenomenological paradigm).

  • The basic aspects of virtual reality techniques – passive stereo, active stereo and interaction devices – are representations of fundamental space experience attributes and not of attributes of space as such. They represent the way in which weperceivespace (by observing space with our two eyes and ears); the way in which wearein space (by moving our body in space); and the way in which wepracticespace (by interacting with objects in space).

  • Three functional types of cyberspace applications can be identified: the reference function, the support function and the parallel world function. These three functional aspects can be systematized within the scheme of cyberspace semiotics: the iconic cyberspace functionality; the indexical cyberspace functionality; and the symbolic cyberspace functionality.


Virtual Reality Virtual World Real Space Virtual Space Space Experience 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag London 2002

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  • Lars Qvortrup

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