Saturday, May 12, 2007

This from Alex too

This space is tight, it is a restraint of one direction. Limits also exist in the amount of space I have, 16 square feet. If I were to take off my skin and stretch it over my floor, I would have some skin left over.

There are other limits that inform how we relate to space based on our instructions for occupation: ?For twenty days, you can leave anytime you want, but cannot re-enter if you do.? This points to another facet of occupation, duration.

So often buildings are understood in terms of objects (space) and not in terms of actions (time). So much of our experience of place, though has to do with the way we codify space. Architects call this programming a building, assigning actions to locations. Sleep here. Cook there. Shit yonder. Eat hither.

If I were to write a simple instruction for Flatland it would be: stay in a tight space that is divided into smaller individual quarters with four other people for three weeks. The most difficult thing about this proposition is not the tight space, but the duration that you need to stay in it. I could ask someone to get me a scarf at the back of the closet and it would not be a problem. If I asked you to stay in that closet for a week it would likely be met with hesitation.

What I have learned in Flatland is that we adapt to out environment. Adaptation is the process of a subject learning to merge their desires with what the environment can provide them. We behave differently depending on the location. That our subjectivity is fluid is clearest when we change contexts. As for myself, I notice bodily things like aches that I have not felt in a while, my energy level is low (it seems arduous to do simple things like find a piece of paper.) Intellectually I am finding myself more introspective. I am able to focus on plans and thoughts because I am not able to move. I am not able to move not only because of the small quarters, but because of the rule I have elected to follow in connection with this space.

By changing the rules of a space, you can change its reception. This project is a three week house. To follow Wurm?s example, what would a one minute house look like? What would a five year house look like?

How can you renovate an existing space simply by changing the rules? Is it possible to change my living room into something strange just by grafting onto it new rules for occupation?


ptomaine said...

"By changing the rules of a space, you can change its reception....Is it possible to change my living room into something strange just by grafting onto it new rules for occupation?"

This is very stimulating, insightful stuff. Thanks.

Identifying or "seeing" our self-imposed rules can be more difficult than actually breaking them (and is the logical first step). Flatland may be a great device for helping you identify/sense some of these self-imposed rules/codes. I am wondering if the process of identifying these rules will be most acute right AFTER you leave Flatland and as you rejoin your normal world...when you may be most sensitive to seeing some of the invisible rules that guide us in normal space. That could double the learning and value of the Flatland experience.

ptomaine said...

As a follow up to last comment:

would it be possible for Flatlanders to keep blogging for at least several days after they about readaptation to 3D world and the experiences/insights during that period? This may be a particularly rich period of learnings. Thanks.