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34 Pages

Dimensions

WithSteven E. Jones

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The digital network and the physical world are sometimes talked about as if they were separate, parallel universes, or different “dimensions” of reality, in the popular or science-fiction sense of the term. The illusion of a 2D pixelated irruption of the digital from the 3D black spigot in the physical world was, of course, created using mundane physical materials, the artist picturing in an imaginative overlay the “digital” water. For obvious reasons, game designers tend to assume that digital technology constructs worlds, and they have often been highly self-conscious about the implications of that assumption. The areas of academic specialization, even within a multidisciplinary field such as the digital humanities, often obscure larger trends. Jerome McGann argued, in a piece reprinted in the influential Companion to Digital Humanities, for expanding the scope of digital textual practices, such as markup and archiving, but also visualization and analysis, in order to better represent the n-dimensional nature of texts.