A Cultural Shift: Global Connection and “The Digimodernist Text”

Alan Kirby’s “The Digimodernist Text” presents a dense discussion on how new technologies dismantle the postmodern and reshape our culture. Among the multiple dimensions to his argument regarding digimodernism, I would like to focus on the open-endedness of digimodernism in relation to authors and participants. The novelty of digimodernism makes it a complex term to understand, but in essence it is “the impact on cultural forms of computerization (inventing some, altering others)” (50). Kirby makes the point that digimodernist textuality can be related to a machine because it is “a system by which meaning is made, not as _ meaning” (51). The authors are also the participants so the possibilities of digimodern texts are endless and indefinable. If it has “a start but no end” (52) it cannot be defined, as its meaning can be redefined by a participant at any moment.

In light of Kirby’s argument about open-endedness, I question whether the “new form of textuality” (50) that comes with digimodernism contributes to globalization in an authentic way. Globalization is generally defined as the process by which businesses or other organizations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale. It can be argued that digimodern text is a sham on the global scale because it creates “obscure social pseudocommunities” (52) due to the impersonal communication that takes place online, and is therefore inauthentic. I challenge this belief and argue that the digimodern text is, in fact, a key tool for globalization. Due to its multiplicity and tendency to be “almost innumerable” (52), it sets no limit on the potential global impact it could have. Video games like Mass Effect and Grand Theft Auto IV display these universal qualities, as anyone with access to the game can join and play with people from all around the world. Digimodernism is not concrete and always in flux, so it allows the “viewsers” (72) to “make text where none existed before” (51) and give it meaning. The open-endedness of digimodernism makes way for a “cultural shift, a communicative evolution” (50) that encourages the exchange of cultural ideas and experiences. The technological revolution and advancements that are so often viewed as negative destabilizing factors to the social world have, in fact, connected the world on greater levels than ever before.

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