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21 MARCH 2015

Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space

"A gallery is constructed along laws as rigorous as those for build­ing a medieval church. The outside world must not come in, so windows are usually sealed off. Walls are painted white. The ceil­ing becomes the source of light. The wooden floor is polished so that you click along clinically, or carpeted so that you pad soundlessly, resting the feet while the eyes have at the wall. The art is free, as the saying used to go, 'to take on its own life.' The discreet desk may be the only piece of furniture. In this context a standing ashtray becomes almost a sacred object, just as the firehose in a modern museum looks not like a firehose but an esthetic conundrum. Modernism's transposition of perception from life to formal values is complete. This, of course, is one of modernism's fatal diseases."

(Brian O'Doherty, 1986)

Brian O'Doherty (1986). "Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space", The Lapis Press.

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TAGS

1976 • aesthetic conundrum • art is free • artistic modernism • Brian O Doherty • clean design • clean white box • design formalismform and function • formal values • functional formgallery spacesideology of the gallery spaceinterior architecturemedieval church • modern museum • modernist aestheticsmodernist design principlesmorphology • neutral gallery space • neutral space • neutral white box • non-placeobjectivity • painted white • polished wooden floor • programmed useregulationsacred spacessingle-minded spacesspatial configurationspatial literacy • structural features • symbolic place • symbolic structures • Thomas McEvilley • transposition of perception • tyranny of modernism • tyranny of modernist aesthetics • white box • white cube • white wa

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
07 NOVEMBER 2014

Songlines: How Indigenous Australians Use Music to Mark Geography

"There are many different methods of pre–literate navigation that have been documented around the world. One of the most unique, a fusion of navigation and oral mythological storytelling, originated among the indigenous peoples of Australia, who navigated their way across the land using paths called songlines or dreaming tracks. In Aboriginal mythology, a songline is a myth based around localised 'creator–beings' during the Dreaming, the indigenous Australian embodiment of the creation of the Earth. Each songline explains the route followed by the creator–being during the course of the myth. The path of each creator–being is marked in sung lyrics. One navigates across the land by repeating the words of the song or re–enacting the story through dance, which in the course of telling the story also describe the location of various landmarks on the landscape (e.g. rock formations, watering holes, rivers, trees). In some cases, the paths of the creator–beings are said to be evident from their marks on the land (petrosomatoglyphs), such as large depressions in the land which are said to be their footprints (parallels can certainly be seen in some North American First Nation creation stories).

Songlines often came in sequences, much like a symphony or album today. By singing a song cycle in the appropriate order could navigate vast distances, often travelling through the deserts of Australia's interior (a fact which amazed early anthropologists who were stunned by Aborigines that frequently walked across hundreds of kilometres of desert picking out tiny features along the way without error). Each group had its own set of songlines that were passed from generation to generation so that future generations would know how to navigate when in neighbouring tribes' territories. The extensive system of songlines in Australia varied in length from a few kilometres to hundreds of kilometres in length crossing through lands of many different Indigenous peoples. Since a songline can span the lands of several different language groups, different parts of some songlines were in different languages corresponding to the region the songline was navigating through at the time, and thus could only be fully understood by a person speaking all of the languages in the song."

(The Basement Geographer, 21 October 2010)

Fig.1 "What are song lines?" Colin Jones, lecturer in Aboriginal History, talks about his culture, his history and his art. Queensland Rural Medical Education.

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TAGS

Aboriginal mythologyancestral beings • ancestral heroes • animist belief systemAustralia • Colin Jones • creation narrative • creation spirits • Creator Beingscultural memory • cultural webs of memory • dreaming (spirituality) • dreaming tracks • earth motherFirst AustraliansFirst Nations • genii loci • geographical point • Indigenous Australians • kin-grouping system • kinship • landmarkslandscapelocationmappingmarkers • mythological storytelling • navigation systemnavigational methodsoral historiesorientationorigin myth • paths • petrosomatoglyph • place • point-to-point • pre-literate navigation • pre-literate societiessequences and spatial practisessmooth space • song cycle • songlinesspatial literacyspatial narrativespiritualitysymbolic placeterritorytimeless timetopology • totemic ancestors • voice map • watering holewayfinding

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
24 FEBRUARY 2012

Adrift in a shopping maze: it's a successful no-exit strategy

"Alan Penn, director of the Virtual Reality Centre for the Built Environment at University College London, has come to a conclusion that Ikea stores are 'designed just like a maze'. In doing so he's given scholarly validation to a feeling that will have occurred to many shoppers as they blunder around the blue and yellow hangar looking for a new TV unit only to emerge with two candles, a wok and a bottle of lingonberry cordial.

Penn went on to suggest that it was Ikea's strategy to keep customers inside the store for the maximum time possible. They achieve this by setting a route round the store from which it's difficult to deviate. Taking the shortcuts (which are only there to conform with fire regulations) often leaves you adrift in a sea of lampshades.

The effect is to boost impulse purchases. See a coathanger, and you might buy 'because the layout is so confusing you know you won't be able to go back and get it later'."

(Ian Tucker, 30 January 2011, The Observer, Guardian News and Media Limited)

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TAGS

a sea of lampshades • adrift • Alan Penn • circulation • coathanger • cognitive map • confusing • customersdesigndirectional informationexperience design • floor plan • IKEA • Ikea stores • impulse buy • impulse purchase • layout • maze • mental imagenavigationno escape • no-exit • organising spacesprogrammatic spaceroutesensemakingsequence of spacesshopping experiencespatial designspatial literacyspatial narrative • spatial sequence • store • store designtrappedUniversity College London • Virtual Reality Centre for the Built Environment • wayfindingyou are here

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
18 MARCH 2011

From Urban Experiences to Architectural Narratives

"Cities are a densely coded context for narratives of discovery and the recovery of experience. They have a capacity to act as condensers of information and to integrate assimilations of behaviours, people, styles, typologies, forms, ideas. Cities are comprehended through spatial practices. Movement in the city is a major practice which enables us to accumulate and organize urban experiences. It creates spatial narratives containing memories and views, specific places, objects, beginnings and ends, distances, shadows, buildings or parts of them, encounters, signs and panoramas. Urban space becomes intelligible through sequences of movement. Its complexity, mystery, splendour, rhythm, are revealed and interrelated through the route of the urban dweller. Similarly to urban space, architectural space is perceived in terms of sequences and spatial practises. According to Jean Nouvel 'To erect a building is to predict and seek effects of contrasts and linkage through which one passes...in the continuous sequence that a building is...the architect works with cuts and edits, framings and openings...screens, planes legible from obligatory points of passage'."

(Vaso Trova)

Vaso Trova (2008). 24th NCBDS: 'We Have Never Been Pre–Disciplinary', Georgia Institute of Technology. Sabir Khan, Chair.

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TAGS

architectural narratives • architectural spacearchitecturebehaviourcitiesdwellingencountersexperienceframe • Jean Nouvel • legibility • linkage • memorymovementnarratives of discovery • NCBDS • place • points of passage • programmatic spacerhythmsequence of spacessequences and spatial practises • sequences of movement • spacespatial configurationspatial literacyspatial narratives • spatial practices • typologies • urban • urban dweller • urban experiences • urban spaceurbanism

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
18 MARCH 2011

A house is a symbolic place that regulates privacy

"A house is a symbolic place combining paradoxical concepts that can easily be identified as 'binary codes.' Internal and external, private and public, female and male, sacred and profane, clean and dirty are binary codes used to explain roles and activities of people in spaces (Lawrence, 1990; Ünlü, 1999). The spatial configuration of house layouts may be different in different periods, regions, cultures, and societies. Societies establish order in their livelihood spaces and reflect their personalities in these spaces.

There is a mutual relationship between space and human relations. The differences in social systems reveal morphological diversity in house layouts. The family contains the socio–economical structure of society; although it is a small element, it is the cornerstone that forms the future of society. The family needs a specific space, a house, to achieve this function based on their characteristics and the desired level of privacy (Sungur and Çagdas, 2003).

Privacy is a dynamic topological property of space; therefore, it should be approached in an analogous manner. Spaces could be categorized not only depending on their degree of privacy, but also according to their capacity to regulate privacy. At the same time, complementary approach counters the strict categorization of spaces into either public or private. According to that point of view, architectural space and its various elements should act as regulators of privacy. Space and its elements should be able to increase or decrease privacy according to the customized needs of its occupants (Georgiou, 2006).

Robinson (2001) identified different zones of privacy within a single Midwestern house and pinpointed their importance for the individual. Robinson argues that through a series of spaces with different degrees of privacy, the autonomy of the resident within a small social group is provided. Furthermore, the individual is granted a large measure of control over time, space, activity, and social interaction."

(Faris Ali Mustafa, Ahmad Sanusi Hassan and Salahaddin Yasin Baper, August 2010)

Faris Ali Mustafa, Ahmad Sanusi Hassan and Salahaddin Yasin Baper (2011). 'Institutional Space, Domestic Space, and Power Relations: Revisiting territoriality with space syntax', Asian Social Science, Vol. 6, No. 8, ISSN 1911–2025 (Online), Canadian Center of Science and Education

TAGS

architectural space • clean • degrees of privacy • designdesign formalismdirtydwelling • external space • functional design • habitationhousehuman relations • interior • interior architectureinterior design • internal space • intimacy gradients • layoutmorphologyplaceprivacyprivateprofaneregulationsacredsacred spacessequence of spacesspacespatial configurationspatial literacysymbolic placeterritorytopology

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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