The reign of topology subordinates the analog to the digital. Where once analog and digital maintained an ambiguous and continuous — analog — relation to each other and to the world, the digital now distinguishes itself sharply from the analog, subsuming the analog difference under the digital distinction. This is a transformation not merely in forms of communication or entertainment, not even in forms of power or of topos, but a change in being itself. The digital appears, finally, to install topology in the world — only in reality it has installed the world within topology.
The screen in Katamari Damacy shows a clock in the corner, an old-fashioned analog clock with a sweeping hand. The game is an allegory for a double process, by which the analog movement of the body is transformed into the digital, but also where the digital decisions of the game are expressed to the eye in a familiar analog form. Gamespace subordinates all of time and space to the digital. Paul Virilio: “… space had been measured, mapped, time has become clock time, the diversity of relief, of topography, gave way to topology…” In topographic times the clock tower showed its face to the town over which it presided; in topological times the digital face of time appears anywhere and everywhere. The hands of the analog clock simplify movement in space, reducing it to a rotation on a plane. The digital clock substitutes one coded sign for another, at fixed intervals, drawing each from an abstract space where all the signs of the code exist simultaneously. All of time becomes a series of discrete, abstract and interchangeable units under the reign of the digital. At each interval, time can be arrested and made to yield a number. The analog temporalizes space; the digital spatializes time.
The analog doubles one continuum with another. It records, in this second continuum, how several movements, operating together, produce a transformation. It tracks the movement that transforms itself out of itself. Twist the sticks and the Prince turns the ball. Roll the ball and it gradually grows as it picks up things. The icon in the corner grows. One movement doubles another, and another. The analog is all about relations.
The digital is all about boundaries. The digital does not follow a moving line, it imposes a grid of lines which produce a series of boundaries. In the analog, difference is the productivity in excess of itself; in the digital, difference is a negation that comes from without. Roll the ball as much as you like, but unless it reaches the size King Digital demands within the time He allows, you fail — and are subjected to His lofty disdain.
The analog is variation along a line, a difference of more and less. The ball gets bigger, or smaller. The digital is divided by a line, a distinction between either/or. Either the ball is big enough to be a star or it isn’t. The analog may vary along more than one line at once, producing the appearance of a qualitative difference. The digital introduces a code, which may produce complex relations among its terms, but all the terms are separated by the same line of absolute distinction. All the Katamari balls that are big enough become stars, each with its own name and location, but all are points in the same heavens.