Communication, Vectors and Frames

Communications systems and the distribution of information are accommodated by vectors. Our entire lives that are in part constituted by our interaction with technological and communications systems are situated within a vector; a type of virtual environment in which such interaction is made possible. It is both “the way and means by which” (Mackenzie, 2008; p. 208) information is moved across space and time.

Why are vectors important to the study of communications systems? Because they map out our environment of experiences that are constituted by the telephone, the television, radio; any piece of technology or telecommunications network that creates for us an experience of an environment specific to that medium. Wark Mackenzie (2008) refers to this type of experience as telesthesia; “The abstract speed by which all other speeds are measured and monitored” (p. 208). In other words, it creates the standard by which our perception adapts to as our firsthand everyday experience of space is permeated by vectoral environments. We encounter an overlapping of the real and the virtual; of geography and of virtuality, and we are thus left with a third nature geography, or a virtual geography.

Virtual geographies amplify our sensorial experiences as they extend them outward through space and through time, while also accounting for the “exploitation of nature” (Mackenzie, 2008; p. 211) by allowing for nature to be interpreted and encountered as a mere object.

Take a news broadcast event of large magnitude for example. It becomes a worldwide news event mediated by telecommunications and televisual mediums. The vector of this event became the “ commanding role” (Mackenzie, 2008; p. 212), in the sense that the nature of the environment, that is, the event itself and the broadcasting of it, became usurped by the vectoral class that took control of its dissemination to worldwide audiences. These audiences, connected to this vector via their televisions, Internet connections, and various other mediums, came into contact with the event in geographical virtuality where their perception of the event became abstracted from the real space and time in which it occurred. Consequently, because they are coming into contact with this event only within their geographic virtuality, they become subordinate to their vectoral class that has commodified the nature of the event into an object for consumption.

This is why it is said that the vectoral class is one that “emerges out of capital” (Mackenzie, 2008; p. 209), because information is abstracted from the natural environment and usurped by the virtual one, thus abstracting audiences from it even further, and shaping their perception of it as an object for consumption.

This type of perception, however, can be considered as narrowing and merely constructive of reality. We are forced to perceive the events and the world in terms of frames, that is, mental structure that “shape the way we reason” (Williams, 2014). The vectoral class is one of power, and the way in which they form the environments we engage in forces our adoption of particular semantics that have preconceived ideas about how we interpret the world. Thus, if we are merely at the receiving end of the vectoral class, we are not really creating semantics of our own by which we can interpret the world. We are rather applying an a priori framework to an environment that fits the given criteria. Williams notes that “political ground is gained when you successfully impose your framing as the common sense position”, and this is true to the very foundation and functioning of vectoral environments. They are created by power, and the only way to deconstruct their structural formats is to hack into them and disparage the virtual in order to retrieve the most imm


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