In a traditional sense, being local means being isolated with certain limitations. In power hierarchy, “local” had been placed at the lower level in society. With this being said, being local sometimes indicates socio-economical isolation. Yet, this vertical relationship in power hierarchy faded away, and now there rises a horizontal relationship between central and local with the power of tele-presence in virtual reality. This can explain a new trend in our living condition: one chooses to be local to be free.
Participants will learn how to be globally local through presentation, interaction among participants, active survey, and Q&A sessions.
In his book, “The Birth of the Clinic,” French philosopher, Michel Foucault acknowledges existing power in social structure, and one way to take away power from people is to isolate them. In a sense, traditional local residences had been isolated socially, economically, politically, and culturally due to physical limitations, such as remote location and poor transportation, and it indicates that local residences in many senses didn’t have much chance to exercise their power.
However, as technology developed, especially mass communication and transportation technologies, local residences are now able to do lots of things they never imagined they could do at the site where they live. Marshall McLuhan, the media critic and theorist, had stated that in human history the development of all forms of technology are essentially extensions of the human body. The hammer is an extension of the fist, the car an extension of the legs, the telephone an extension of our ears and voice, the computer and extension of our brains, etc. McLuhan stated that it is through mass media technologies that we have extended our central nervous systems to embrace the entire globe. Our senses and our nervous systems can now tap into instant global communication, which has in turn radically altered the way we experience everyday life. Now that we are globally wired, we have abolished time and space and immersing us in a multi-dimensional global environment. For better or worse, we now experience everything, including culture through some form of mass media, specifically, the computer and the WWW. Consuming daily information and culture and communication with each other through mass media have become as natural to us as breathing or eating.
Exercising the power of tele-presence in virtual reality, one can be as much as global one wants to be. There could be social local place by one’s choice, yet there is no more true “local” place in a multi-dimensional global environment with new technologies in mass communication. And, it is possible for one to be globally local these days by one’s choice.