SPATIAL PRIVACY

Post 562 by Gautam Shah

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Space is a built or territorial expanse around a person. The personal measure for the expanse is the fathom (human size) and yet it is fathomless. The space is reached through sensorial affectations. The reach is finite, but with technological tools it can be stretched manifold. In recent years, technologies like satellite remote sensing, geo positioning, electronic enlargements, ‘seeing’ through energy facsimiles; have encroached our spatial domains. The invasion of our privacy occurs whether we are in built space or open territories. The invaders know that reach in space does not mean the capacity to own and control the depth.

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Layers for privacy of different levels > Street view of Faza Kenya House Wikipedia image

Spatial privacy encroachments affect our personal actions and our connections with other people, objects and environment. Very often such observance or data collection is not intentional but the same may be used for malicious interpretations. The spatial privacy is for a person to manage, but surveillance by others may be used for altering our actions and responses to other things in space.

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Surveillance alters freedom of action Wikipedia image

Privacy is related to location or position, tracing of movement routes, a micro moment capture of changes in posture-gesture, environmental and body functions (temperature, perspiration, metabolism, respiration, blood pressure etc.). These are imperceptible, and would not be noticed, but can be enhanced by technologies like slow motion capture, high resolution, and colour or energy imaging tools. Such processes occur without the person’s knowledge or awareness. Privacy is the right to act without surveillance. Surveillance alters action.

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Public spaces under surveillance Wikipedia image by Quevaal

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Aerial view of Osama Bin Laden Compound Abbottabad Pakistan by CIA

Privacy has many different interpretations. Spatial privacy for humans in built forms or open territories has been a concern for all designers. Designers consider privacy as an act of isolation by way of obscuration. Privacy means control over space occupation, time protraction, task execution and social interactions. The isolation from people, things and environment is achieved by controlling various sensorial perceptions and expressions. One may close the eyes, block the ears, pinch the nose, reduce the visibility by merging with the background, simplify variations in surroundings, control the exposure in time and space, camouflage with high contrast elements or exploit the barricading situations. Sense of privacy results from traumatic experiences and could be seen as inhibition to certain situations. This can be adjusted to by mental isolation or behavioural counseling.

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Confession in privacy Wikipedia image from ru.wikipedia

Privacy and Intimacy are closely related. Intimate conditions reflect interference by others, and so a threat to privacy. Though both, could be expressions of individualization or branding of unique personality. And, whenever these are compromised, one tries to distance from others, adjust the posture and reorient the self. To achieve privacy, a prime attempt is to find a ‘safe’ place in a domain. The safe place could be an anchor of spatial (architectural) element, a person or even a suitable environmental realm. Safe places are familiar, assuring, with a possibility of escape, or occluding. Safe places are transient in time, like a moving object does not allow clear perception. Privacy is perceived in company of a senior person, people of same sex and in a group consisting of both sexes. Environment offers privacy by reducing the clarity perception of the self and of other things.

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Privacy as expression of Individualization or Branding of unique personality Wikipedia image of Beyonce Knowle by Tony Duran

One requires many different types of privacy: Physical privacy -against someone making a close approach (touch or near approximations), Visual privacy -to limit others’ view of oneself, Audio privacy -insulation against being overheard and interference from background noise, and Olfactory privacy -that limits to reveal own physiological state or experiencing someone else such a state through hormones-odours. Other privacy parameters are, one tries to conceal the body temperature, breathing rate, heart beats, pulse rate, vibrations of the body, sweating and perspiration, as these reveal the inset fear.

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Privacy from distraction Wikipedia image of Michigan State University Libraries USA

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TRANSLUCENCY for CURTAINS

Post 431 – by Gautam Shah

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Translucency of a fabric for has been an important factor how curtains sensorially affect us. In ancient times when heavier tapestries including rugs were hung on openings, little light seeping through the weaving or worn out gaps was very much pleasing experience. Light through the woven material gets refracted by the surrounding fibrous texture of threads at the gap point. It not only diffused the glare of outdoor light but created a warm glow due to the unbleached warp yarn.

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Nominally our experience tells us that heavy fabrics are more opaque, and light weave fabrics are translucent. Though there are many exceptions to these, due to the nature of fiber, its post spinning treatments, use of colourants and nature of the weave. For the favour of anyone (heavy-opaque or light-translucency) the others can be redefined. Fabrics are lighter, because the fibres are naturally thin, can be spun to a very fine count, filaments or long staples in nature, and woven with a single weave or similar techniques. Fabrics or fibres dyed to lighter shades seem less heavy. Fabrics with finer warp yarn tend to be tightly woven rendering it to be opaque.

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The substantive determinants for perceptual and actual transparency or translucency of a curtain material depends on Treatments over a fabric, mode of hanging and pleating, presence or absence of a liner-layer and the secondary treatments over the opening itself.

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The illumination conditions of the interior space, and the viewing position in the interior or exterior location, substantially affect the perception of transparency. A bright exterior or one that allows greater proportion of ‘sky component reflection’ (the reflected light from the sky) such as clear sky days, openings on sea coast, very vast open grounds, on the upper level windows in tall buildings, and very bright or highly a reflective frontage of urban streets, all contribute to the brightness over the windows’ plane (an exterior side). A bright exterior side and a glare-less interior, both add to the translucency. A curtain fabric shows the glow of exterior daylight when the interior glare is less dominant. Such conditions also arise when areas besides the curtain are not highly illuminated, or furnished in lighter shades. A direct sunlight exposure of the window makes the curtain seem opaque (at least from outside) where as a deep shade or awning makes a curtain ‘see-through’ entity.

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The perception of transparency is governed by the construction of the curtain, such as design and density of pleats, presence or absence of back-layering, and the direction of the weave. The natural way of fabric orientation for curtain is the warp forming the vertical orientation (and the weft the horizontal position). A curtaining system, called Railroading, places the fabric, with weft forming the vertical orientation (and warp the horizontal position), which makes the fabrics seem more opaque. Curtains are also formed with multiple fabrics of synchronized colours or textures. The mid sections are formed with lighter (or white) fabric, allowing more light, feeling of lightness and view-through facility.

Fabrics of Filament yarn (very long fibres) such as of silk and synthetics and naturally very thin and uniform section, allowing lighter density weaving. But filament yarns of synthetics provide fabrics with a glossy finish, which takes away the ‘glow from back’ effect. Compared to these yarns of natural staple fibres of cotton, jute, wool, etc. and Rayons, have variable section and micro fibres jutting out, after spinning. Such yarns create weaves with many small gaps, and the micro fibres diffract the light.

Balcony Early In The Morning Curtains Yang Guang

Silks have been the first choice for sheer curtains due to fineness and natural ‘fall’ it offers. Sheer curtains are known as privacy curtains. Some of the best sheer fabrics are of pure silk, but most of the commercial materials are made of synthetic filament yarn (long length fibres). Very fine count cotton yarn fabrics such as lawn, cambric, chintz, voile, Malmal, muslin, etc. are also translucent, but have a tendency to creasing, and the quality of ‘fall’ is not natural.

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Fabrics in lattice or net forms are created through weaving, knitting, netting, crochet and such other constructions. Embroidered fabrics were used in Dutch and Swiss dwellings. Sheer fabrics flourish with their pleats and resultant folds, whereas the embroidered constructions brandish their self-patterns. Such constructions are very pliable and semi-transparent like a sheer fabric curtain.

Net woven fabrics of cotton and synthetic materials are soft and of substantial to flimsy body. It is net density (or lightness) and the pleat formations that add to its hazy see-through charm. Net patterns are created by singeing fusible weft or sections of fabric, or by selectively pulling out the weft yarns.

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See-through curtains nominally form the first layer in multiple curtains’ system. Such curtains allow a fuzzy view of outsides during day time, but at night may require an opaque topping of a curtain. Such fabrics or constructions must not be used with a lining fabric, to maintain the translucency. Similarly such curtains not embellished and embroidered for patterns. Such extra work increases the weight of the fabric at the cost of graceful fall. These types of curtains are commonly heavily pleated or hung as a plain panel (such as a roller or horizontally folding curtain) and so the total quantity of cloth required for must be pre-considered.

Victor Mottez zeuxis -use of sheer curtain

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VISUAL PERCEPTION of MOVEMENTS

Post 395 — by Gautam Shah 

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We perceive objects that are in motion, and also perceive objects while we are moving.

Motion of an object is perceived in many ways:

1 When there are changes in the object itself,

2 when environment causes changes, such as in illumination level, angle and colour, and

3 when the context such as background and foreground change.

There are many other conditions where movement is perceived to have occurred, but in reality no change may have happened.

1. When there are changes in the object itself.

The process of apparent visual motion was realized when several pages with slight and progressive alterations were flapped, to experience the movement. Later a devices called zoetrope provided animated images ( zoetrope, -from Greek words, where zoe =life and tropos =turning). The Phenakistoscope (or phenakistiscope or phenakitiscope) was an image animation device that used a spinning disk of sequential images. The visual motion was also realized when two images shot at slightly distanced points, and seen through a ‘view master (1940). It created a stereoscopic 3-D image. A stereoscopic range finder uses two eyepieces and relies on the operator’s visual cortex to merge the two images into a single picture.

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Phenakistoscope Dance sequence

St George St St Augustine Florida stereoscopic view

coincidence rangefinder US Army

2. When the environment causes changes over an object.

Environmental factors such as light, air, etc. affect the visual perception of movements. Changes in illumination level, angle and colour are important aids for perception of motion. People do not perceive very slow movements such as shadows of sunlight or increasing-decreasing of brightness through a day. Such movements are however, inferred by remembering the previous condition. At a very high rate of change in illumination, the perception of an object becomes difficult. On a performance stage illumination level, angle and colour are continuously varied to reinforce the movement in dances. In a cinema the movement is enhanced by showing the moving object along with the moving shadows.

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Decorative series of lights are stationary or fixed to buildings, but due to their going off in a sequence for few seconds, creates an impression of movement. This movement is more enhanced when same series of lighting are fixed on merry-go-rounds like entertainment rides. In Indian cinema songs, and night clubs at other places, enhance the dancers’ movement by strobe lights.

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3. When the context such as background and foreground change one begins to perceive the change or movement. We register changes in things in some context. The context is provided by the familiar objects on the scene, by objects that remain consistent within the nominal field of vision, and by the object in the background that usually show lesser changes. A thing that is receding steadily and slowly, along a visual axial seems less changing, compared with a thing moving at slightly an angular axis. A luminous and stationary object, shrinking in size, seems receding.

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Foreground Background contrast Gustave Caillebotte Paris Street Rainy Day 1877

Background and foreground perception is a not a major problem for human eyes, as these can continuously and rapidly shift from one to another. But the same process in a Camera takes time for resetting by manual or automatic process. A far object can become dulled while attending a foreground entity. The differences, of visual and camera perception of foreground and background objects, are being solved on several fronts. In one process a camera lens is simulated as multiple eyes entity, that individual captures the scene, which ultimately are merged or morphed to form a composite image. In another feature the lens is endowed with scanning capacity of the eye that creates a composite image.

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DAY-LIGHTING – in Interior Spaces

Post 366 – by Gautam Shah

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Day-lighting or daytime natural illumination is an important requirement for Interior spaces. The illumination requirements vary for various tasks, background brightness (contrast or glare), forms of shadows, and movement or variations in levels of lighting. The direct sources of daytime natural illumination in interior space are openings like doors, windows, gaps, cracks, punctures, translucent or transparent walls, trellis, etc. Besides these there are number of indirect means that enhance or contrast the direct sources of illumination. These means are planer or curvilinear surfaces, reflective surfaces, colours and textures. The daytime illumination arrives to a built-form, from different directions and sources, such as directly from the source, from sky, and as the reflections from terrestrial objects. These sources include, direct sunlight, diffused sky radiation, and both of these as reflected from the terrestrial objects.

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The amount of daylight received into an interior space is defined as a daylight factor (being the ratio between the measured external and internal light levels). The external light level can be as high as 120,000 lux at noon for direct sunlight at noon, to less than 5 lux on very heavily cloudy evening.

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To gain maximum daylight into an interior space the building should have wider foot print and its perimeter should be linear or undulated. The building must be longer in North-South direction, compared to East-West direction, unless the space is meant exclusively for either Morning or Evening use. For Northern Hemisphere, North side and for Southern Hemisphere, the South side receives more daylight.

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The neighbourhood buildings and topography and immediate surroundings have a bearing on the quality of illumination entering a building. The reflected light from surfaces of buildings, colours of roads and pavements affect lower floors of the buildings. Reflections from sea front and movement of trees tops, due to the breeze, can have unsettling effect on interior spaces. Upper floors of tall buildings, except in similar localities, receive consistent, but very strong daylight from nominal windows. Such floors with bottom windows get disturbing reflections from traffic and other movements, reflected to the ceiling.

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Location of openings, their proportion to wall, and distribution, determine the distribution of day light in the interior space. In tropical climate zones and in colder climes during warmer months, open doors play a very important role in daylight gain. Similarly, open to sky Chowk or cutouts with surrounding passages or ‘livan’ like spaces allow distributed illumination.

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For good day lighting the interior spaces must have at least one face with exterior exposure, or with an abutting shading component like verandah or gallery. A skylight or upper level opening is an efficient source for natural illumination. A taller window leads the daylight deeper into the room space. The depth of daylight penetration is approximately two and one-half times the height of the opening.

High – performance glazing with downward inclination

The space planning of an interior layout must be optimized for daylight. Large tall pieces of furniture can act as mid space barricading element or as reflective surfaces. In commercial spaces half or fully glazed partitions can allow just sufficient illumination for passage areas. A plain ceiling at low level may not be as reflective as a stepped or contoured one.

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On exterior and interior sides use of light-shelves, against an opening, helps distribute the daylight and cut glare. A light shelf could be a small width blade of a louver to very large fixed or adjustable jalousie system. A high-performance glazing systems generally admit light without the heat gain.

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Reflectance of room surfaces impacts the perception of brightness in a space. The surface reflectance is a function of colour, its texture (matt, dull-sheen, glossy) and the orientation of grains of textures. Extreme levels of brightness are present in the same field of view, can be calibrated by surface design.

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Daylight must be planned and ‘attuned’ for requirements of tasks, posture, communication, expression and intra-personal relationships, Poor visibility, recognition, and discomfort result from lack of required levels of illumination, direction. To remove wearisome consistency (as with sky or high level openings), some variations in moment to moment daylight must occur.

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TASKS SHIFTING in INTERIOR SPACES

Post 323 – by Gautam Shah

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An interior space, is a multilateral entity. A small and simple interior space also offers variety of options for conducting tasks. These options relate to spatial character of the space, size, shape, orientations, anthropometrics, environmental conditions, connections with the outside world, amenities and facilities. Most of these are static factors but environment is a variable one. The space becomes vivid when it offers new experience possibilities. Group behaviour dynamics add new interest to the location.

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Tasks stay put at a location for many different reasons. Tasks utilize fixed structures, amenities, facilities and consistent environmental conditions productively. Some tasks are well practised (routine), require less attention, and so allow more time for interactions with others and passive observance of other tasks. Locations where tasks are conducted consistently in the same time-space segments, evolve with many enrichments. Such locations, become marked-out (named) spaces and architecturally well defined units (bathing area, hay chopping area, etc.). Tasks depending on environmental conditions at a location cannot be space shifted because the combination of spatial qualities and environmental conditions are difficult to get elsewhere. Within a built-forms environment is well conditioned and the need to shift a task is less severe, compared to tasks in exterior areas that are dependent on climatic factors.

Task handling

Tasks dependent on fixed amenities or facilities cannot be shifted. Tasks consisting of multiple processes, some of which need to shift around wherever these are available. Tasks require different space-spreads (extent) for various processes and may need re-siting. In single room houses, tents and non-formal work areas (like rural craft workshops), tasks’ timings and their spread requirements are well matched. Tasks are shifted to new location or moved to different time schedule for experimentation, to relieve tedium, and develop new intra-personal equations or group behaviour mechanisms. Intra personal interactions, even if non-verbal, act as a relief in task handling. Tasks have different settings or ethnic variations across societies. This is more apparent in craft tasks.

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Casual tasks are ‘once in a while process. Casual tasks take into the stride the shortcomings of the space size, form, environmental conditions, and problems with group behaviour dynamics. Casual tasks are tactical solutions, rather then of any strategic planning. There is an urgency to accomplish the task as quickly as possible in whatever locational conditions that are available. Casual tasks are very exciting as these open-up new possibilities of space and time management. Casual tasks also generate new group behaviour dynamics and intra-personal relationships.

Tasks, Place, amenities, facilities Image by U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Receptionist

Physical Reach and Capacities are governed by the posture taken for the manual handling of tasks. These define the number of sub-tasks or processes that can be handled without requiring repositioning or shifting. Sub tasks that can be conducted in same posture and in a sequence are preferred. These two aspects determine the dependence on tools, equipments, structures, amenities, facilities for carrying out tasks. By rationalizing the task-spreads, one economizes on the physical energy of reach.

 

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AUGMENTED REALITY

Post 319 – by Gautam Shah

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Augmented Reality is enhancing or supplementing one’s current perception of reality. This is in contrast to virtual reality where the real world is replaced with a simulated one. Both have digital connection, today but even without it, they have been part of our experience in various measures for ages. Augmented reality (mainly with digital media) has its origins as early as the 1950s, and has progressed with virtual reality since then, but it’s most significant advanced have been since the mid 1990s.

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Realities have been augmented by altering the perception capacities through consumption of certain substances. The alteration was for both, dulling or diffusing and to enhance the perceptive faculties. Pain, diffusers, inducers, enhancer and bearers have been known. These augmentations were not rational or consistently predictable. Virtual reality was used as part of magic ceremonies, in religion and entertainment. Simulations were enforced through light and sound, as well as sleight of hand.

Up at the Mostra

In earlier days the play was interpreted by the interpreter or Sutradhar (conductor in Sanskrit). It could be simplistic language translation, elaboration of complex philosophical content, or bridging of time elements. These interventions augmented the reality being enacted, by compacting the time-space. In the bi-scope or silent movie era, the story and music were played live. Foreign language movies, TV plays, programmes and presentations, carry sub titles for translated dialogues or audio, video and textual augmentative effects.

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Nominally augmentation occurs in real-time, and in one of the two basic frames, the context is rational or literal. It has till now a distinctive identity, where the additional information about the environment and its objects is overlaid or under-laid with reference to the base frame. But this differentiation is likely to diminish in near future.

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The augmented reality is going a step further by including zoom-in and out effects to show respectively details and overall perspective views. This is further augmented by use of wider scope and panoramic views. The usual experience with glass-based lenses, of the differential clarity between foreground and background can be eliminated with use of charged couple devices.5708231997_e713354ea8_z

Variety of devices, such as mobiles, i-pads, computers, wrist watches, etc. use computer-generated sounds, graphics or video clips for additional information about products, spaces and places. Currently these are the compilations as offered by the device manufacturer, or application providers. Many of these manifest as customised offers, but none recognises the changing needs or moods. Artificial intelligence will automatically figure out the behaviour of the subject (the user), and accordingly augment the experience of reality.

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A person may not dwell in a real world all the time. One occasionally needs to visit the virtual or simulated domain, like architectural 3D renderings, and see how it functions with the augmented reality. Here the virtual reality is augmented with all the sensorial experiences. Typical of this are the echoes and reverberation effects as one walks through the rendered space. This may not come first to architecture, but has begun to enter the games, sports and other learning simulators. The subject gets the vibrations, shocks, and other touch-feel effects. In medical surgeries a surgeon, can practice the procedure, as if on a live being rather then on a cadaver (dead body).

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Eye check upThe chief sensorial experience that constructs reality is the visual perception. A smart eye glass or contact lens can be overlaid with not only textual and graphics information, but can ‘scope’ the view by selective zoom-in-out. It can also have night vision or selective spectrum vision. Artificial Intelligence will be able to prejudge the nature of support required by the subject, and tailor the augmented reality.

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It is expected that augmented reality and virtual reality will converge. It will come as soon as when an interface begins to interact with our perception faculties.

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EXPRESSION OF OPENINGS

Post – by Gautam Shah

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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.

9 Ventilation shafts of Borisovo station

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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‘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’.

Bridge Train Travel Railway Railway Station

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.

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