The interval of space, the interval of time, and us (1)
空间之间,时间之间,以及我们 (一)

OCT 2019


"Humans need an architecture that pushes later away from now." 
Harry Dodge
All my questions of time, started from the questions of space, and ended with the questions of perception. As refining my thesis “ABSTRACT, EXPAND AND TEST THE SPATIAL OPERATIONS OF ‘PHENOMENAL TRANSPARENCY’ TO CRAFT LANDSCAPE EXPERIENCE”, I defined where the phenomenal transparency occurs as the interval of space. One of the characters of phenomenal transparency is that the space belongs to various references. My research introduced new references from landscape architecture (majorly landscape phenomenon) into the discussion of spatial operations. This leads to an inseparable bond of space and time, here and now. I aimed to create space that is intensively corresponding to the succession of phenomenon, or put it in other way, a space that is constantly re-configured with the changes in time. However, there are some questions along the whole process that I haven’t been able to answer. What does this spatial status mean? What happens in this spatial interval? Why is it significant to us? 

Since the space is associated with every instant of time because of the interventions of landscape phenomenon, in order to figure out how do we experience this type of here, I have to know how do we experience now. And then, here comes the question: what is now

The idea of a point-like present moving towards one direction forming a certain timeline has been a vivid representation of time in our narrations. Is now a point extracted from time on its movement? However, present without its duration makes the experience of now impossible. How could any thing happen within an instant that is extremely close to infinitesimal and dimensionless? How does time achieve its accumulative quality without any extension? Therefore, Husserl argues that the 'pure now', is only an ideal limit, and is surrounded by a 'rough’ now', that is actually experienced in an extended state. Such as there is always a comet's tail that attaches itself to the perception of the 'pure now’. In the book What is the present, North points out the paradox of comet and its tail. If they are different, then they cannot occupy the same moment, and if they are the same, then they seem to deny the passage of time. To me, it seems like we need another dimension to understand it: the interval of time. The meaning of this interval is manifold: it divides and connects. Like Kierkegaard puts it, gap is an occasion for another kind of continuity. As a division, it separate past and future, it’a gap that identifies successions, it’a measurement of time. As a duration, it belongs to time, it is the distance between the point-source of the comet and the end of its tail. The length of it varies depends on our perceptions. I wanted to replace now with an idea of interval, because I have to remove the present tense of the now due to the misunderstanding created by our language. Consequently, it make it possible for an architect to plot the moment experienced, the moment that is happening and the moment yet to come within whole length of narration. As I think more and more about the Interval, it seems like it’s not just part of time and measurement of time, but the actuality of time. In Chinese, time is written as “时间”,which exactly means the interval -“间” between hours -“时”. 

We experience time, by its movement and while it’s passing. Paradoxically, when we are fully perceiving it, it seems to be static, endlessly stretched and with a depth. Sometimes it almost feels like the eternity itself compacted into an instant. To resolve this, as North discussed in what is the present, one must identify two different types of present: Kairos and Chronos. Chronos represents the stately plodding of ordinary linear time. It's multiple, countable and homogeneous time. While Heidegger considers Kairos as a moment of decision, towards future, which makes the dull conventional now into a real present. North indicates that this "It’s a sort of door always standing open, waiting for us to step through, into eternity” and "perhaps even more, this type of present is one that we somehow have to earn, as if we did not come to deserve it just by living”. Certainly there are various ways of earning this now. I wondered, if spatial design could be one of them, or particularly, landscape architecture. As Heidegger believes, architecture ultimately belongs to a world which comes after, or goes beyond the physical world. Therefore, the significance of its meaning seems to be revealed. Lastly, I want to end this session with Winand Klassen's writing in Architecture and Philosophy: "This is the reason why we cannot exclude philosophical considerations from our investigation, and it does not matter whether metaphysics as a philosophical discipline is dead, alive, or has to be overcome. "