Thursday, July 5, 2007

a few initial thoughts...

Culture defines our experience of space beyond its perceptual characteristics.

In the contemporary world, where human interaction revolves around digital technologies and telecommunications, we experience locality and proximity differently from our predecessors. A distinction between local and remote space arises: the traditional space of our perceptions, circumscribed in our cone of vision and confined to our horizon line --once identifying space itself-- now becomes defined as local. Remote space instead is exemplified by a live telecast of the world cup, a long distance phone call, or an Internet chat room. The expansion of space boundaries goes beyond human perception: not only can we see images and communicate with people and places thousands of miles away but we can interact with outer space as well.
The shift of the notion of space from physical and local to whimsical and remote was best expressed by the Pathfinder mission to Mars. Images of the planet were sent to Earth and made publicly available through the Internet. Paradoxically the act of perceiving went beyond our sensorial capabilities.
Nevertheless there are counter effects: the widening of our horizon brought by the artificial extension of the five human senses parallels the deterioration of our relationship with the local environment. Ecological concerns become a buzzword used by the same agents of major pollutions and respects for the environment. In this increasing loss of contact with the physical world permanent signs of human presence in the physical environment becomes increasingly meaningful.
Finding awareness of where we are in space and time, and our sense of being part of a system, establishes our axis mundi. Finding intersection of many axes mundi creates places....