Post 347 – by Gautam Shah
Postures are very important tools of behaviour for task facilitation and intentional as well as unintentional expressions. Postures required for conducting tasks primarily provide change, relaxation, transition, exercise and reach. Postures for communication and interaction may gain from the spatial ambiance but depend on external amenities, facilities.
Postures have many variations within a basic theme or purpose. The variations are micro changes of the body that help in sensorial perceptions and manifestations. Postures have empathetic and confirming images for the society as these are closely linked to the local terrain, climate, environment. Postures directly and abstractly convey the state of interpersonal relationships, social standing, personality traits such as confidence, submissiveness, and openness, current emotional state and temperament. Certain body positions, patterns and movements suggest specific emotions, that are readable by the clan or group.
Posturing is using own body, its limbs and sensorial nodes in coordinated manner vis-á-vis another individual, groups of persons, or the elements of the space. In case of social encounters one perceives the sensorial and bio-manifestations and accordingly improvises own responses. Space, environment and the objects are used as tools for posturing. One can also reshape the space, reformat the environment and rearrange the objects and thereby economize or avoid some degree of posturing.
Posturing, is primarily for own well being, or sustenance of life. Secondly, it is to resist or follow the gravity, by exploiting or overcoming its effects. Posturing is used for privacy and intimacy. Posturing helps one to control incursions by others into the personal domain of behaviour, as much as it allows one to project a participating personality.
A person takes on postures with several intents. First purpose is to gain and maintain it. Gaining a posture is to transit over from some other posture, and maintenance is readiness to change over to another one. It also includes the scope of micro posturing for blood circulation, muscle relaxation, fluid balancing, making gestures, and micro tuning the reach and handling capacities.
Postures are axially balanced or skewed. Balanced postures are mirror-image (congruent) postures, such as equally posed two feet, two hands, etc., or are normal ones like the frontal face, upright torso, erect neck, straight eye level, etc. Skewed postures reflect a readiness to transfer to another posture, due to shift in interest or boredom. Both, the balanced and skewed postures, cannot be maintained for a very long period. Good designs include other support systems. The supports are casual, subtle, imperceptible, or very obvious ones.
Designers design for postures as important poses of behaviour sequences. Some flexibility within the postural poses is perceived or left to the individual to extemporize. A chair that is slightly wider or lower, a bar stool with a foot support ring, a seat with multi flexural (revolving, tilting, rotating) adjustability, TV or monitor swiveling stands are some of the examples that allow flexibility. Office executive chairs allow great many postures, due to the width of the seat, height of the seat, height of the handles from the seat, depth of the handles (elbow or arm accommodation), inclination of the back (tilting), height of the back (mid spine, shoulder support, neck and head support), swiveling, etc. Other postural options are provided by the table top height from the ground and seat level of the chair, depth and width of the table, nature of foot rest, task being handled, mobility of the chair (depending on the quality of wheels and flooring surface), etc. The site and its environmental conditions also play their role, such as the chair close against a wall, against an open space, facing a barrier or an open area, the source of illumination and air handling devices, one sided or multi directional interaction, communication devices being used and duration of work.
Similarly ordinary people need to exploit the situational conditions for behavioural setting. Where possible a person would choose an appropriate seat with reference to the host or other participants, own social status, own psychological make-up, presence or absence of intervening elements, angle, level and distance of the encounter, level of comfort and formality desired. Next strategy would be for macro or micro shifting of the seat. Where such devices are lightweight mobile, micro shifting for angular and distance adjustments are done, but such choices are usually limited. Other strategies will include body or postural accommodation, such as seating by fully drawing back or upright, leaning on, one of the arm rest rather then a balanced posture, keeping arms on armrest, lap or any other front side device, placing the legs under the seat, straight-up, seating with cross feet or leg, seating frontally but looking sideways.