Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Personal Space-time continuum

Photo by James Hawkshaw
Photo by James Hawkshaw

I was speaking to my  friend the other day and she mentioned she was going on a break with her boyfriend. She specifically said the needed some space and some time: some space-time. I take it that you are all familiar with the theory?  

I am however, very familiar with personal space. When one says "I need some space" ultimately they mean, i need some space for myself, some personal space. But what is personal space, it's connection to time and what does it really mean to us? 

I read somewhere that personal space is a distance of approx. 15-20cm radious arround you. For example, should you be in a crowded bus, if the person next to you is closer than 15cm, we have a serious incident of personal space violation. But never mind that, personal space has more to do with your own psychological attitude, the value and meaning you give to your space.

I think the idea of personal space came about because of the need to protect ourselves. Think about it. If the person next to you on the bus is closer than 15cm then you are in peril : he might step on your toes - and that hurts when wearing summer sandals. In any event, you might get hurt. In personal terms,  it functions just in the same way. This is why we choose who we are going to allow to come closer than 15cm. Observe (or rather, read on) ... 

I recently started taking rock n roll lessons. It is brilliant! There is an understated sense of revolution and  romanticism in this dance. The sort of teens in revolt against the steretypes of behaviour of the time. Also, the fact that you can only dance it with a partner makes it more appealing.

But dancing with a partner is not as easy as it seems. This is a classic case of personal space issues/violation. My teacher, she is the best, she always tell me that i need to loosen my right hand, dance partners tell me this too. It is a dance, she told us, which is lead by the male partner. Thus, the gilr should trust her partner.

Trust you say? I need my personal space, i say. Progressively, i have learned to trust the partner, but subconsiously, my right hand is still tensed, it's my defence against what the partner will attempt to do.It takes time and i'm still not there yet!(but i am trying, very very hard)

So this is what i think:

I have decided that we need our space untill enough time has passed to allow someone to get closer than 15cm, from our body or from our heart. Until then, we can wrap ourselves with bubble wrap ensuring minimum side-effects of violation and most importantly: when we "fall" we won't smash into pieces.

James Hawkshaw, demonstrating personal space bubble wrap approach

 James Hawkshaw kindly demonstrates a good way of securing your personal space. This pic was taken as part of one of his projects. James is a 22 year old artist who recently graduated from Leeds College of Art and Design and is one of the most talented and kind people I've met.

Check out James' website: http://www.jameshawkshaw.co.uk/


After i wrote this post, Marietta from the double crochets sent me this. If you are a visual person, you might find this diagram exceptionally useful -- Thanks Natalie Dee!
I read Natalie Dee regularly, but it just didn't occur to me that she had made this. Tiny Dimi-Fail :S