Session: #126

Theme & Session Format

2. [Re]integration
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Limiting Spaces: The Attribution of Spatial Meaning through the Creation of Boundaries
This session aims to explore the liminal qualities of spaces deriving from human interaction with the surrounding environment. By inhabiting/occupying/frequenting/building spaces, humans attribute meaning to them, setting them apart from others and creating boundaries. The creation of meaningful places is thus inseparable from their delimitation through a variety of methods that go from identifying specific intrinsic spatial properties, to the construction of built architecture.
A boundary or border may be perceived through a change in the materiality of space (e.g. solid earth vs. water vs. air); the erection of surrounding walls bears the conceptual distinction between an “inside” and an “outside”, while architectural changes affect the very features of space through the use of light and darkness as well as of different materials. For instance, a space filled with water or sand may not be intended as a place for the living, but such spatial features may instead be perceived as delimiting, defining and spatially identifying a border beyond which other entities - be it gods, spirits and the dead - have their place. Tightly connected with the concept of border is that of the material and/or immaterial passageway devised to go across, from one space into the next. Considering that beyond every border lies a different kind of space, we are interested in the types of spatial properties attributed to them, may it affect particular activities or even time itself.
We encourage the participants to propose reflections on spatial properties as border-creating features; the role of built architecture in characterizing and defining the space within it - and its ability to transform its spatial properties; the function of gates, doors and thresholds in transitioning between spaces with different properties.
In the hopes of comparing spatial concepts from a global perspective, we welcome contributions on all premodern cultures.
spatial perception, spatial materiality, liminality, boundaries, borders, spatial concepts
Session associated with MERC:
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Main organiser:
Mari Yamasaki (Germany) 1
Sonja Speck (Germany) 2,1
Francesca Meneghetti (Italy) 3
1. Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
2. Philipps University Marburg
3. Independent researcher