Jean Cristofol – Distance and proximity in a multidimensional space

Jean Cristofol – philosopher, Higher School of Art Aix en Provence, France

The physical space in which we live is inseparable from the forms through which we represent it. These forms mobilize objective knowledge, but they also engage an imaginary in which we project ourselves. From this point of view, the physical space is not only the result of our practices. It is inhabited by subjects who identify issues within it . It is defined by fictions and stories.

We inherit these stories and fictions, which implement a continuous space that is based on the opposition of near and far, distance and proximity, here and elsewhere. Borders draw lines of discontinuity between homogeneous entities. The figure of the journey, that of utopia, the themes of the island or the labyrinth, the limit and the crossing are incarnations of such stories. But these figures are not only free constructions of the mind, they are also in correspondence with the forms and media in which they were articulated. They are actually produced by the relationship to the modes of technical and social existence of an era.

When trade and travel are determined by the flow of information and ubiquitous autonomous devices affect our modes of perception and our direct action capabilities, how can we conceive and operate them? What is our relationship to space when it is built in a complexity that disrupts the ways to understand the very meaning of distance or proximity? If the space in which we live and communicate is a complex and multidimensional one, how can we build its representation?

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