Spaces: Physical and virtual

Vittore Collina

At the beginning of the 20 century we
have to remark among the many historical changes also a deep transformation in the way of thinking and of living
space. In the philosophical culture of the time the consciousness of a plurality
of space systems is widely spreading and, at the same time, grows the belief of
the immanence of all the points of view. While, the social life has been changed
by the new means of transport, by the birth of metropolis, by the presence of
colonial empires… On the other hand, close to the physical spaces, some virtual
spaces are growing: the spaces which are created by the communication through
media. In that period the press has already formed a virtual space populated by
flows of news. Other wide virtual spaces will be then opened by cinema, radio,
television and computers.

Under these conditions the meaning of the word “space” is changing: on one
side the use of denoting remains with reference to the physical spaces, on the
other one we are witnessing a large metaphorical use.
Finally, it is important to pay attention to the great number of spatial determinations
which are present in our language in the form of metaphors, and to
recognise the power of representation that spatial metaphors are able to carry
out in our complex society.

Published 4 February 2003
Original in English

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