Formatting the Twenty-First-Century Whale
This chapter proposes a classification of today's whales according to three different formats: the analog whale, the digital whale, and the simulated whale. The analog whale would be a whale of the waves, rising, though mostly falling. As the type of the ANALOG, think of the whale fall, the sunken carcass of a whale, which in its deep death can give rise to an ecology all its own. The cetacean understood as a linear sequence of DNA, of discrete nucleotide bases, fits into the category of the digital whale. Under the simulated whale, we can place the fiberglass whale made by the marine biologist Jenifer Hurley, of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in California, to train sea lions to film migrating whales. The chapter suggests that all of these representations of whales in their migrations toward death reach toward another format: the virtual.
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