Post 532 by Gautam Shah


Screenshot_2020-07-20 The First Days of Spring


Reach is a way of knowing and acknowledging a space. By both the processes the space is ‘domesticated’. Reach is spread of the body limbs. It helps in physically touching, exploring, or seeking a support to be with an object or person. The reach in space is scaled by the body’s limb sizes, capacities and susceptibilities. Such a reach is physical and creates domains for occupation. Physical reach tools are either body-related or object-related. The body-tools like walking sticks, rails, support ledges or parapets, are closer to the body, functionally specific and styled as personal entity. Compared to these, the object-tools are objects themselves or attached to the larger objects or schema like nature, buildings, structures, etc.



Physical reach in space is amplified and modified by reach-tools. Reach tools extend physical capacities, and correct the limb disabilities. Throwing a stone, spear, arrow, rope sling, etc. to resist harmful things, leveraging with longer handles on axes, adages, tongs, staff, hammers, brushes, swords, and land-based activities such as ploughing, irrigation, harvesting, burials, handling fire and building structures have helped enlarge the ambit of space. Territorial conquests for food, safety and proliferation, were encouraged by capacity to move and travel. The difference between WW-I and WW-II is about the capacity to move and reach out. The conquest of space depends on how one wants to reach out physically or virtually. The purpose of reach to an object or person, has many facets like physically touch, explorative endeavour, support, sympathetic vibes or an exchange.

Accessible toilet Wikipedia image by Author Annasmith1986

Sensorial Reach is an extension of the sensorial capacities to increase or diffuse the perception. All beings have sensorial reach in space within certain biological range. Reach tools help to perceive things that manifest beyond these limited capacities. The reach tools like the listening cone was the precursor of stethoscope and electronic amplifiers. Microscope and telescope are tools that extend the edges of visual perception. Sensorial reach is attuned to the change, and registers the environmental effects in space.

Experimental Night vision goggles Wikipedia image

Sensorial reach defines a finite realm of space, but with reach tools the same reaches to infinite depths, and so could be immeasurable. The sensorial capacities are transmittable, so what we cannot see (fineness and distance wise) can be captured and enlarged, or defined in other scales (UV, infra or radio frequencies, or selective colour modification). Stars are not just observed through telescopes but ‘listened’ to.

Array of Radio telescopes at Socorro, New Mexico, United States Wikipedia image by Author: user: Hajor



Sensorial tools are also used for perception, expression and communication. So reach in space defines the nature and extent of social interactions and is measure how relevant a space can be. The social relevance of the reach in space also regulates privacy and intimacy of individuals and groups. And the same reach makes a space familiar, alien, aloof or crowded. But in spite of some degree of physical scaling by the senses, such a reach in space alone fails to configure it.

Wikipedia image by Author ISAF Headquarters Public Affairs Office

The reach in space connects the space users and space forming objects. The physical and sensorial distance between the two determine the interactions. The physical and sensorial distance between various objects that form the space have relationships through scale, proportion, environmental variations, affinity, equality-un-equality etc. The relationships or interactions between different space users may not be hinged to distance, or other reach tools. Crowding in a lift or public transport is not perceived with any sexual connotations, but a similar condition in other space could be repugnant. Reach in space marks personal area vis a vis public areas.


Crowding in Metro Wikipedia image by Author Richy

Natural reach capacities and reach tools together define domains and connections beyond. In case of built spaces, the barriers, like walls restrict the reach beyond that envelope. Openings, gaps, doors and windows offer such connections. But built spaces are also transgressed in both inward and outward directions. Galleries, Zarokhas, balconies, Mashrabiyas help inflate the space inside out, whereas Chowks, cutouts, etc. bring the space inward. Such transgressions bring the exterior closer to the interiors.

Reach tools Wikipedia image by Author Ben Schumin

Facilitation of reach in space, availability and use of reach tools all define a personal domain, a zone of regulated and selective participation. This is an area where one can reach out through projection (expression), channels of communication, physically (through body limbs) or stretch out with gadgets. Here the intimacy is regulated but it is not a private affair, unless some screening barriers are used to achieve the privacy. One can dwell in a culture or state formed of metaphysical elements (beliefs, customs, etc.), to achieve the same.

Chawri Bazaar Delhi India Wikipedia image