Virtual Riverwalk

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Hard Rock Cafe Riverwalk

Enter the door . . .

Someday , whether you are physically in Des Moines or Vladivostok you will be in the same place. Perhaps there will be an entry zone, the virtual equivalent of the Riverwalk (its precursor today is the passage through lists of links, then the front page, then the inner pages of a web site). You may experience a complex topography. There will be your familiar Des Moines, and then, inside the virtuality there will be an equally familiar zone, a virtual walk on the river of signs, where you will encounter the competing and varying frontages of the attractions vying to bring you into their private worlds. Seduction. Once you turn off the walk and enter, the chosen world will close around you.

In that virtual world there may be a vast extent behind small street frontage. Borders will be experienced differently. Now, when you sit on the real Riverwalk terrace at La Mansion, or even when you eat inside the restaurant, you are assaulted by the music of the Hard Rock Cafe. The worlds blend into one another. Seduction becomes interference. On the virtual riverwalk there may be competition outside, but inside each world the space will be seamless, uninterrupted. The place will still be finite, but not because there are borders you can see or step over. It will be qualitatively finite; there will always be an other, but that other will not be encounterable without backing out and breaking the circuit. This possibility of change will be experienced as the presence of the absence of the other. Or as the exhaustibility of the little world. Or perhaps through viral invaders sent by the competition.

It has been said that we can tell dreams from the real world because dreams are not so coherent. In a virtual reality zone ruled by one corporation, those marks may switch. Interruption and limits could become the mark of the physical world, coherence and continuity the marks of the virtual.