Post 506 –by Gautam Shah
A space encounter, first ever or with familiar ones, actuates a search for the most appropriate location, orientation and body posture, amenities, facilities, supports, and environmental conditions, one needs to establish own-self. The search also includes many personal factors such as other people present and level of relationship with them, mood, past experiences, personal attitude (extrovert or introvert) and the purpose of visiting the space. The natural choice is some focal point of the space. It may not be the architectural-con-center, but has distinct affinity to the core zone of the space. To arrive and immediately reach a peripheral section, one needs to be extraordinarily purposive, almost like a service personnel who intentionally avoids any interaction with the happening in space.
The reach in space, and anchoring to some point does not last very long. One begins to absorb the space, and shifts to another body posture, sensorial connections, orientation and even moves to the next location. The shift continues till the search is satiated with the perfect spatial and environmental conditions, required amenities, facilities and other supports are available. All these are disregarded, if some known person or group is available for communication and participation.
Space occupation is achieved by
- Positioning own self at some important location (a Cris-cross point of many spatial lines), from which many activities can be sensorially perceived.
- Orienting to some dominating feature of the space (like an entrance door, window).
- Staying closer to some presence (wall, column, furniture, person).
- Establishing associating with other people by closer distancing or intra personal communication.
- Continually shifting, reorienting, to conceal the discomfort arising from inability to occupy the space.
For space occupation important operative factors are: Range of cognition (capacity to perceive, project and communicate), Physical proximity (level of social interaction), Scale of relationship (age, social status), Nature of relationship (sex, familiarity) and Possibilities of exploiting amenities, facilities and other physical supports.
A space user needs some control over the space:
- Multiple opportunities to change the location and position (including the posture) within the space.
- Choice to interact with others or refrain from it
- Freedom to adjust to the spatial quality and environmental conditions at micro level (like moving towards an outward opening, seat, stand, rest) and thereby achieve an equilibrium and comfort.
- Be noticed, or ignore others.
- Use sub-core or peripheral zones to form intimate groups.
- Shift to peripheral zones to conduct exclusive tasks.
- Ways and means to leave the space either in full knowledge of others or without being noticed.
In very large spaces there are multiple points of anchorage for space occupation such as: the adjacent walls, hedges, mid columns, flower pots, water fountains, lamp posts, flooring, ceiling, and such patterns and objects. Spatial configurations like a stage, podiums, projection screens, speakers, singers, vivid objects, also hold interest by providing involvement.
In parties, hosts make a conscious effort to break intimate formations by removing or adding key or active persons, or re-positioning and rescheduling the activities. In clubs and places of entertainment the environment (change in lighting, furniture, equipments) and programmes are reset to shift the focus off certain space segments. Group gatherings are designed to occupy different space segments (hall, terrace, lounge, coffee room, library, garden lawn, etc.), variegated environmental conditions (bright vs diffused illumination, change of music, etc.) and diversions (toast by the host, magic shows, musical renderings, dancing, etc.).