The raw material of the realm of the circuit is the digital file. Every trace of human creativity placed into the memory of the computer can be represented by nothing more than a string of zeros and ones. They are the realm's lingua franca, literally the "medium of communication between peoples of different languages." When creativity is digitized it is a catalog of possibilities: it can be stored, shared, combined, refined, reworked, remixed, separated, mutilated, articulated, commentated, annotated, and on and on. When creative output is digitized, it changes the working process, the relationship between creator and audience, and allows the combination of work into multimedia. Culture in the realm of the circuit is a shared process, and also the process of sharing.

Electric technology fosters and encourages unification and involvement.
- Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Message

Creativity is infinitely mutable. Creators have the ability to show an audience as much or as little of the creative process as desired and can even invite audience participation in making the work. Today, the creative act may be the process of production itself, an exchange of culture that produces dialog and participation rather than an end result, a process which can be inclusive or exclusive. The experience of digital creativity is inherently more abstract, less tangible than traditional film, sculpture, or painting. The tools of the new digital creator are the computer programs that are capable of shuffling the digits of an electronic file and bestowing meaning on them and through them. Instead of the constraints of the physical world, the realm of the circuit is limited only by the imagination of those programmers who write its rules. The primary constraint in the realm of the circuit is the limit of imagination.

This shift of the creative act reflects a tremendous difference in our notions and applications of creativity. The raw material for the creative interlocutor is metafora, an intangible carrier of creativity. Unlike physical media (painting, sculpture, books, film), metafora is not limited by venue: It moves freely through the circuit. Museums are constrained by their physical architecture in what they can present, yet the digital museum may exhibit anything. An iPod can hold text, image, sound, and moving pictures, and even three-dimensional virtual objects. With its virtual writing spaces, the computer positions us to transcend restraints and to combine experience within it. Until now, the "medium" (i.e., film) determined the audience for the message, its destination, and how the work is evaluated critically. Notions of venue, originality and even success must be re-thought. If we accept that all expression is contained in metafora, creativity in the realm of the circuit is an interactive multimedia experience.

The combination of ideas conveyed through media creates multimedia. Metafora is an idea expressed through media (such as motion pictures or books), those channels through which we can deliver expression: movement, sound, object, image, and word. That the term multimedia was coined only forty years ago suggests that we think of it as a modern practice, especially as a condition of the computer. Yet people have always combined media, realizing that the sum is greater than the whole, that by placing different media together, they can achieve a synergistic effect: new metafora is created. For Richard Wagner (German composer, 1813-1883) in the nineteenth century, it was the concept of the "total artwork." His essay "The Art Work of the Future" proposed the unification of architecture, music, dance, and other media, which would serve drama in opera. If Wagner begat Broadway, the Broadway theater has turned itself inside out into Times Square.

From the cave paintings of Lascaux, to the present, multimedia is a phenomenon that is historically universal. Early Egyptian burial sites contained evidence of multimedia rituals; the Ada people of Nigeria, throughout their history have combined masks with dance, and music in storytelling rituals that often satirize social behavior.

John Dewey (American philosopher and educational reformer, 1859-1952) sought to recover a continuity of being through the integration of the expressive acts with the routines of our everyday lives. In his book, Art as Experience, Dewey writes about the Parthenon of ancient Greece and notes that, "The collective life knew no boundaries between what was characteristic of these places and operations and the arts that brought color, grace and dignity into them. Painting and sculpture were organically one with architecture, as that was one with the social purpose the buildings served. Music and song were intimate parts of the rites and ceremonies in which the meaning of group life was consummated." The realm of the circuit in the twenty-first century may resemble the Parthenon.

In the pre-digital world, creativity was expressed through physical media. Books held the written word, whereas visual imagery was contained in paintings, sculptures, stained glass, photographs and other physical objects. Even music depended on either physical instruments to create it, or tapes or vinyl albums to record it. Today, music has been liberated from the qualities of a particular instrument, or even an instrument at all: Samplers and other digital tools can fabricate sounds out of nothing more than numbers. If music once depended on the physical presence and organization of the musician and the instrument, it now depends on the programmer and engineer.

Many people's experience of multimedia is found in their cell phones, which record voice, text, photographs, and video, allowing an everyday person to create what once required a small news crew. It is hardly surprising that images of the 2005 London train bombings came first from passengers who broadcast videos and photographs of the trains as they were evacuated, and before network crews could arrive. Conventional journalism and its notion of objectivity from a single point of view (in the printed newspaper and broadcast news) is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Once, multimedia productions were the domain of the specialist, the wealthy and the powerful. The digital tools of the twenty-first century have allowed more people to produce metafora and integrate it into their everyday lives. The dialog of culture is now recorded in real time and stored in digital devices from flash drives to Blackberries, which are volumes in the library of the World Brain.