In his novel Neuromancer, first published in 1984, the US-american author William Gibson coined the term cyberspace for the virtual reality generated by computers. On the basis of an etymological analysis this term can be interpreted as the traditional relation between helmsman and space. In the medium of sci-fi-literature and sci-fi-film this phenomenon of cyberspace changed rapidly between 1980 and today. In early examples, for instance in the film Tron produced in 1982, the virtual figures act in a disintegrated space without any destination or orientation. In later examples, for instance in the film Matrix produced in 1999, the cyberspace becomes a substitute world for a dark, chaotic or destructive vision of reality. Contemporary forms of cyberspace, as visualized in the 3D-online-city Second Life, are in contrast used for financial activities and symbolize the hard world of economic policy. This development of cyberspace can be seen either as an evolutionary process or a dichotomy primary defined by different facets of space simulation in virtual reality.
Article first published in “Journal of New Frontiers in Spatial Concepts”, V.3 (2011), pp. 56-62, KIT Scientific Publishing, as open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence.