Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Creating one's space from scratch

Chechenian woman selling sheep’s heads amidst the ruins of Grozny. Picture by Sergei Loiko, published in L.A.Times, reproduced with his permission.

The theory of “territoriality” exists in many variants, but the first principle is that the organization of space by human beings have been originated in a universal, biologically impulse in individuals to clearly mark “ territory”, from which the others will be excluded. The second principle is that this concept can be extended to all levels of human grouping. The collectives will defend a territory in the same way as an individual.
It means that space will be generated as an “external projection” of social and mental processes, which is separated from its spatial dimension. Usually structural anthropologists see this space as a product of something else which existence is anterior to that of space and determinative of it. Much of this thought about space is directly intertwined with the architectural and urban form of people’s surroundings, that could be independent of another pattern-forming dimensions of society, like kinship, systems, mythology.
People spend most part of the day in a built environment of streets, buildings, parks, parking lots, squares. Therefore, much of their thought about spatial judgment, memory and movement through space has to be shaped by the urban forms of the surroundings. It is “perceptual organization”.
I´m showing here a picture taken by Sergei Loiko, reproduced with his permission, a Chechenian woman selling sheep’s heads amidst the ruins of Grozny. No words responding to this image can go beyond the field of the observer, the situation has to be understood and experienced, more than seen. The conformation of space here, in the middle of nothing else but the aftermath of war attacks, is at the level of individual space, rather than the level of the system of spatial relations that constitute the “missing” environment. But to disappear does not mean to be eliminated. The woman must have her collective memories, she is smiling and beginning again, just the first embryo for social space. We need a theory that could describe not only systems and morphological divergencies, but also patterns that are born from the non-order to the order, from non-meaning to meaning. It would be a great contribution to develop a theory of space

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