Post – by Gautam Shah
An opening system in building is a facility for entry-exit, but also serves the functions of ventilation, view-in or out, outward breach of the space as well as inward infraction of the environment. Openings carry metaphoric meanings due to associations like entry-exit, open-shut, escape-retention, light-darkness, life-death, etc.
In literature openings occur as descriptions, metaphorical expressions and as metaphysical entities. As description, the opening systems occur as entities with some degree of architectural, functional and visual interests. Metaphorically the opening is a change. Doors, gates, windows, and other openings express the transition from one state of existence to another. Likewise passageways, bridges, ducts, also serve the function of transition. An opening is a line where the change occurs and the bridges lead a path to or away from such a line. The point of transition is a mark up, demarcation. Metaphysically the opening constitutes a triad: an inside, outside and as in-between. The construct is a 3-way experience, of being on one or the other side and the state, or of being into neither of the two. Here the third reality is the threshold, the zone of indecision for some. The paired reality of inside and outside, or existing on this side vs. the other side, creates a threshold or an edge. To stand upon a threshold allow one time and space for contemplation before committing to circumstances. As the action once undertaken here onward (or inwards) may not be undone.
An opening is a relief from the enclosure or very constricting situation. It is a way to fulfill the expected, and a venture for the unexpected. The opening is like a dream or thought, so thin and efferent that one often does not realize if it is real or ethereal.
Openings frame a view. The framed view is available so far one is little away on either of the sides, but same frame gets dissolved when one reaches the threshold. The frame enshrines an arresting or picturesque quality. An opening without any apparent framing seems surreal, as much as an opening that is without its adjacent wall or barricade. These staging qualities are used in art, architecture and performing arts settings. The framing provides a scale reference, but the third dimension of depth, remains ambiguous due to the foreshortening.
On physically passing through an opening a change manifests, but there is a psychical desire to go back to the origin. The inside or the womb is the origin, so humans endeavour to trace back. It is like an umbilical chord that never really gets severed.
‘Often crossing a threshold, real or implied, moves us between safety of the known and anxiety of the unknown. Thus, working on literal and symbolic levels simultaneously, doors and other passageways can provide, both, the physical reality of protection and represent the psychological idea of safety. Additionally, as 3-dimensional constructions, openings allow not only the dualistic reality of inside and outside, but also the possibility to exist within—being neither in nor out. Once one crosses the threshold, there is no going back to what was’.
An opening as a barrier separates one from what is beyond. It provides an inside realm where one has survived and will continue to do so eternally. The safe environment perpetuates the identity of the inhabitant, and ‘its perception of the macrocosm remains unquestioned’. The edge of the barrier is something unreal, but a break in the barrier is real. It is at such a break, one hopes to do things that were never done. Such a point of transgression is the door or opening. Openings within the barriers like doors are the frames within which context, the change is referenced. ‘The Sun god arrives assuredly through the Eastern gate, and the past is always bounded by the door like the fake door of the Egyptian tombs.’ The fake door exists in spite of the knowledge that the dead will never return, and the door will remain unused.