The Screen Space

The Screen Space

In my childhood, computer games were a fixed space, without time or location. There were events, people, quests, stories, and objects, but it was a fixed spacetime. It might be possible to say that it was because I had a challenging time in my childhood with sudden disconnection from my friends and country. I was frustrated by the new environment and lost purpose in my life. As my physical time and space were frozen and isolated, I started digging into the game space. Despite the fact that I was able to divide the space inside the computer and the physical space, and it might offer different quasi-freedom, computer space was frozen as well, despite floating and moving images. One event or one story continued endlessly, and spacetime repeated until my character beat the last monster, where the character died again and again. It was not an endless space but a repeating space, as if a death in the loop rather than a space to survive. The endless death represented the passage of time, and the number of hours of character life left represented how much time had passed. Because of this loopness, the only thing that matters is the path to the goal, to the last, to the born.

I haven’t played games as much as I played in my childhood for a long time. I used it as a pastime rather than the battle of looping time in the fixed space. Instead, I now watch movies through computers, mobile phones, or other devices like the iPad. But movie space is no different. Even though there is no room for me to interrupt during the movie, except for a little mouse and remote control (but can we say it is a real interruption? Even in the movie theatre, where I can just rush out from the black box) through ending credits, I can feel that one event has ended and another block of time has passed. As if I played a game and beat the last monster. I passed, I conquered, and I survived. Around one and a half to three hours, a small or large block of time passed without any physical evidence from the finish. The events never end. The small spaces are repeated without end.

Perhaps this is where my research question began. How many pieces of events, time, and space can coexist? How can this schizophrenic space have a relationship or construction? If I am no longer just an observer but an active user or producer, where is my position in this network? The start was perhaps mechanical eyes, as in Dziga Vertov’s work; it was camera vision, giving the third gaze to the division of culture and nature. Through the mechanical eyes, the human world is no longer culture, no wild animal world is nature, and two worlds are merged as a third spacetime on the screen. It is not a question of real or virtual anymore, but how many worlds we have or can have now. As many humans exist on the earth, how many new worlds are created? Then, where is my world? What is my world?

I look at my room. My room is the maximum size of the world that I can compose and perceive as a physical reality, that is the limit of the range of action I can perceive. “We no longer know what is imaginary or real, physical or mental, in the situation, not because they are confused, but because we do not have to know and there is no longer even a place from which to ask”. The moment I leave my home, the spacetime of the world is indiscernible in its size and scope. The moment my space becomes larger than my room, I only reconstruct it through abstract notions. If, as Deleuze says, movement-image and time-image have represented time indirectly and directly with the movement of active actants and the observation of actants, I can no longer do both. I’m just looking at a network of relationships that I am part of. I recognise the ground that I am standing on, but the relationship with that ground is not connected to how I construct it. The place I live in is not made up of the networks I have created. Postcodes, addresses, and street names indicate how this place is connected with the Country, Korea. It has already been set up, and I can only borrow or use that same code to place myself in it. Isn’t this too passive? What role do I play in this already made cliché? Am I not too passive? Will I be satisfied with this position? Will I be happy with the time of piled-up characters’ deaths? How can I construct my time and space?

The practice, for me, is active participation. I do not passively place myself on the network. I am concerned. I connect my network. Eisenstein repositioned history. Vertov replayed the human eye. The two approaches are very different, but they both go in the same direction. The two directors pursued a transition from a passive position to an active one, and for both, it was reconstruction through the practice of editing and recording. It is Eisenstein’s way of seeing the past, rather than the additive effect from the editing technique, that causes emotional ecstasy. He chose to become a producer and observer himself while making films. I am a producer and an observer.


Deleuze, G. (1989) Cinema 2: The Time Image. Translated by H. Tomlinson and R. Galeta. London: Athlone.