Meaningful Space


1. Immediate Meaningful Space

a. Embodiment: All place begins with the body. We are first bodies in the world.

b. Place/Space and the Senses: All place and space is mediated by the senses. What kind of place comes from specific senses? What does it mean to experience place visually? Aurally? Tactilely? Through taste and smell?

See: Wachovsky Brothers, The Matrix 12


2. Physical Meaningful Space

Place and space always have some memory of physicality, even when we travel a long way from that memory.

See: Jim Jarmusch, Broken Flowers, ch. 11-12

3. Ideal Space & Place

Ideal space doesn't necessarily refer to "perfect space", or our sense of the kind of space we want, but rather, space that exists in our ideas. Think of utopias, and dystopias. These are spaces that we bring to material space, and impose upon it. Sometimes that imposition is just in the form of a blueprint (e.g., the way a city planner would design roads and buildings), but sometimes the ideal space is a memory, a hope, a fear.

See: Bladerunner, any cut, but esp. 2, 4 & 34.


4. Social Space & Place

A fourth sense of space and place has to do with the social. Our interactions create a kind of space that is neither just given, nor is it imagined. Those interactions can range from social interchange of all sorts, including economic exchange, religious, political, moral.

See: District 9

5. Space & Place Without Meaning

If Kant is correct, we always find ourselves in a world constructed through space and time. We can't help it. Having said that, though, we may also find that world one in which space and place have lost all meaning. There may be chaos or incoherence. There may be lack of familiarity. There may be banality, or homogeneity. There may be superficiality. Any of these might be non-places to us.

- Space/place as too much of the immediate, physical, ideal, social, to the exclusion of the others.

See: Paris, Texas, 1



So, what kind of space are the following (or, how do the following exemplify one or more of the senses of space we have just outlined)?:
  1. Facebook
  2. The open area outside of the Student Union
  3. Talk radio
  4. A church
  5. The space around you right now