Small, indistinguishable, units of computer code recede to reveal themselves as the virtual atomic construction of text: “Searching…” The short clip is created virtually to simulate an impossible dolly shot inside Neo’s monitor.


Immediately, the computer screen and the product of the coded image, a two-dimensional surface, are pre-established as spatial. The sequence applies perspectival codes – familiar visual representations of receding objects in space, distance as represented by size and positioning – to account for an imaginary and metaphorical representation of virtual reality as parallel and similarly three-dimensional to RL. This short segment of simulated movement also activates a kind of proairetic code (ACT) as the movement works towards the revelations of the object’s actual flatness.

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The use of this Barthesian code, which has associations with the development of narrative, suggests a chronology and develops the expectation of revealing action/space for viewers. The motion also develops a temporal dimension for cyber operations that works in line with the film’s narrative.

This initial computerized environment, its use of perspective and movement, develops the idea of cyberspace – what Marcos Novak defined as, “a completely spatialized visualization of all information in global information processing systems.” The persistence of the metaphor (a code in itself) of space, and its origins, is discussed in Manovich’s analysis of the video games Doom and Myst. He relays that the creators of the Virtual Reality Modelling Language saw it (and its construction of space for computer code) as: “a natural stage in the evolution of the Net from an abstract data network towards a ‘perceptualized Internet where the data has been sensualized’, that is represented in three dimensions.”

The notion of a sensory experience of computer space, which we have derived from the .gif above, is particularly relevant to the concept of the Matrix as a whole which itself represents a false computer-generated reality.