Monday, January 24, 2011

Circle, Stack, Column: Environment vs. Ritual

The rituals that I observe on campus that have to do with circles, stacks, and columns deal with movement.  There is constant movement on campus from classes to dorms, from parking lots to cafeterias, from one side of campus to the other.  Our environment where we work, learn, and live has been formed for ease and direction of our movement.

Upper Entrance to EUC
This circle for example is at an entrance to a very popular building on campus.  From the center of this area you can go in any direction and find many shops, offices, lounges, and conference rooms.  The very shape of a circle dictates how you can move in any direction from its point.  On our campus we find these in the center of important areas or places where your attention should be all around you.

Rough Stacked Stairs

Entrance to the Alumni House
Stacked forms on campus are used in several ways.  Mostly I have observed them as stairs, movement again, or as slanted rooftops.  Stacked shapes seem to always point toward areas of prominence or are used to enter elevated buildings which brings some sense of importance to that particular structure.

Stone Columns at Exit to College Avenue
Columns on campus play several roles in directing us.  The ones pictured here for example mark the exit to College Ave. and are very noticeable.  Others mark entrances to buildings, line pathways, or are used as decoration.  They come in all sizes, shapes, and forms.

I believe that it is not whether our environment influences ritual or whether our ritual influences the environment, but something else.  I believe it is a cycle.  Both the environment and our rituals are constantly adapting to each other and changing  So then it is a matter of which came first the ritual or the adapted environment?

1 comment:

  1. Matt, I think it is interesting that you created this concept of movement to develop insight and provide a sense of interconnection among each category and it is much like the style in which I write. However, I feel that the interplay of environments affecting rituals and ritual affecting environments is exactly what you suggest, a cycle. Perhaps a cycle of change and balance between both elements and the need for these elements to adapt in order for them to both coexist.