Approaching [Ma]



Presentation / discussion and Selection


Abstract and Poster


Marking, ZigZagging and Rotating
Renske Maria van Dam

Files: abstract, poster, full paper (=updated abstract)

Fragments from proceedings (‘abstract submission’)’:


In 1978 the exhibition ‘間 [Ma]. Space-Time in Japan’/…/ opened its doors in Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. Japanse architect Arata Isozaki designed and curated this exhibition to introduce the concept 間 [Ma] to the Euro-American context. The exhibition consists of nine spatial installations in which 間 [Ma] shows up in different modalities of thought and action: logical, visual and performative. In its architectural context 間 [Ma] shows a moment at which time and space have not been disentangled as distinct and abstract notions: a single sensible spatiotemporal reality. In architecture 間 [Ma] is experienced in Japanese craftsmanship as a unique spatial arrangement, characterized as ‘movement space’/…/, and a unique approach to design (pedagogy), characterized as co-becoming/…/. Through re-enactment of (parts of) the exhibition I study the potentials of 間 [Ma] to develop discursive and non-discursive design tools to approach this single sensible spatiotemporal reality in contemporary architecture practice. In the past years I have analyzed the exhibition by means of archival research and an interview with Isozaki. I also have re-enacted and presented (parts of) the exhibition in my own (pedagogical) practice and in collaboration with students. In this presentation I will use the diverse documentation of my research material to introduce ‘biotopological craftsmanship’ as an architectural technique to approach 間 [Ma]. ‘Marking’, ‘Zig-zagging’ and ‘Rotating’ will be introduced as three specific examples. Biotopological craftsmanship can be understood as an architectural technique in which the architect carefully coordinates with social-environmental moving bodies through minor interventions. This interventions are directed towards the emergence of an autonomous socio-environmental and spatiotemporal interaction. ‘Marking’, ‘zig-zagging’ and ‘rotating’ are all means to activate this process of coordinating and interfering within contemporary architectural landscape that is characterized by a shift ‘from object to experience’/…/.


Architecture; exhibition; re-enactment; Ma; Space-Time