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Digital Ruins: Virtual Worlds as Landscapes of Disconnection

Garcia, Gonzalo C. and Miller, Vincent (2021) Digital Ruins: Virtual Worlds as Landscapes of Disconnection. In: Jansson, Andre and Adams, Paul C., eds. Disentangling: The Geographies of Digital Disconnection. Oxford University press, pp. 163-188. ISBN 978-0-19-757187-3. (doi:10.1093/oso/9780197571873.003.0008) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:90208)

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Geography has seen a rebirth of interest and appreciation of the ruined and abandoned spaces of industrial modernity. This work has often considered such ruins largely in terms of the phenomenological or affectual experiences of material decay, disorder, and blight. This chapter is an investigation into ruined spaces that do not have materiality or temporality: digital ruins. Existing in a kind of eternal present, such spaces do not decay, yet still demonstrate many affective and phenomenological experiences of what we understand to be ruin. Using ethnographic research of three abandoned and nearly abandoned virtual worlds, these landscapes provide a unique opportunity for a critical analysis of digital ruins as spaces of disconnection: particularly in their relationship with time, their algorithmic disconnection from the social imaginary of the Internet, the phenomenological disconnection one experiences in these places, and their founding premise as spaces of utopian disconnection from the limitations of materiality.

Item Type: Book section
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/oso/9780197571873.003.0008
Uncontrolled keywords: ruins, digital ruins, virtual worlds, Second Life, Twinity, Active Worlds, prosumerisn, abandonment, digital abundance
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Vince Miller
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2021 13:46 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2021 10:47 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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