Paths and Patches: Patterns of Geognosy and Gnosis

Paths and Patches: Patterns of Geognosy and Gnosis

Alan Dix (Lancaster University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-020-2.ch001
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Abstract

Map, mazes, myths, magic, and mathematics, computation, cognition, community, and the constructed environment, all reveal something of our internal models of space. Whilst the spaces we inhabit have many objective properties, we only perceive and process certain of these, and add many social and subjective qualities of our own. In fairy tales and science fiction, some of the “real” properties are let slip, yet the worlds remain comprehensible. Studying the essential and nonessential qualities of space can guide the construction and navigation of information spaces. However, the very idea of information spaces, and indeed cyberspace, presupposes that spatial metaphors can make sense of information. This chapter explores the relationships between our understandings of physical space and conceptual spaces; from childhood memories, to transarticulation, the way words shape our conceptual and physical landscape, we will see that our understandings of space and of knowledge itself are similarly shaped.
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Introduction

In previous talks and papers, I have explored the way we as humans understand the physical world (Dix, 2000; Dix 2001; Dix, Friday, Koleva, Rodden, Muller, Randell, & Steed, 2005). Artefacts, words, and abstractions, such as maps, mazes, myths, magic, and mathematics, computation, cognition, community identity, and the constructed environment, all reveal something of our internal models of space. Whilst the space in which we live has many objective properties, we only perceive and process certain of these, and add many social and subjective qualities of our own. In fairy tales and science fiction, some of the “real” properties are let slip, yet the worlds remain comprehensible. By observing which properties can be lost, we understand more clearly what is essential.

My own reason for studying the essential and nonessential qualities of space has been to understand the construction and navigation of information spaces. Others have had similar motivation; for example, the Tower project used theories of space syntax to lay out information objects in virtual spaces (Prinz, Pankoke-Babatz, Graethe, Gross, Kolvenbach, & Schäfer, 2004). However, the very idea of information spaces, and indeed cyberspace, presupposes that spatial metaphors can make sense of information. In this chapter, we will explore the relationships between our understandings of physical space and conceptual spaces. From childhood memories of the back lanes on the way to school, to transarticulation, the way words shape our conceptual and physical landscape, we will see that our understandings of space and of knowledge itself are similarly shaped.

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Table of Contents
Acknowledgment
Chapter 1
Alan Dix
Map, mazes, myths, magic, and mathematics, computation, cognition, community, and the constructed environment, all reveal something of our internal... Sample PDF
Paths and Patches: Patterns of Geognosy and Gnosis
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Chapter 2
Jon Kerridge
This chapter concerns the question of how people navigate through a space in which other people are also present. Issues addressed include how the... Sample PDF
Let's Meander Through a Measured Space
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Chapter 3
Matthew Leach
The Speckled Computing project is a large multisite research project based in Scotland, UK. The aim of the project is to investigate, prototype, and... Sample PDF
Navigating a Speckled World: Interacting with Wireless Sensor Networks
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Chapter 4
John Willy Bakke
Workplaces are key loci for expressing and studying organizational identity, even in distributed work. In organization studies, there is a growing... Sample PDF
Contested Terrain: Place, Work, and Organizational Identities
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Chapter 5
Anne Sofie Laegran
The chapter is based on a study of Internet cafés in Norway, and interrogates the way space and place is produced in interconnections between people... Sample PDF
Technosocial Space: Connecting People and Places
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Chapter 6
Lynne Hall
This chapter discusses artists’ use of virtual space to collaboratively create a digital stained-glass rose window. It explores the use of virtual... Sample PDF
Reconfiguring the Rose: An Exploration of the Use of Virtual Space by Artists Collaboratively Creating Digital Stained Glass
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Chapter 7
Elin K. Jacob
In distinguishing between space and place, one approach is to contrast the physicality of space with the sociality of place: space directs attention... Sample PDF
Context, Boundedness, and Structure: The Apprehension of Place in the Development of Information Environments
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Chapter 8
Richard Coyne
The widespread use of mobile telephony prompts a reevaluation of the role of the aural sense in spatial understanding. There are clear correlations... Sample PDF
Voice and Space: Agency of the Acousmêtre in Spatial Design
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Chapter 9
Susan Turner
This chapter considers the role of sound, and more specifically, listening, in creating a sense of presence (of “being there”) in “places” recreated... Sample PDF
Listening, Corporeality, Place and Presence
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Chapter 10
Stephen Boyd Davis
The chapter is concerned with the relationship between the planar space of graphic representations and the world space that they represent. To... Sample PDF
Representing Space: The Pictorial Imperative
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Chapter 11
Fiona Carroll
The art of the visual-narrative is not a new phenomenon. Artists and designers have been using images to tell stories for thousands of years. From... Sample PDF
The Spatial Development of the Visual-Narrative from Prehistoric Cave Paintings to Computer Games
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Chapter 12
Shaleph O’Neill
The Situationists defined the increasingly spectacularized society (The Society of the Spectacle ) as the alienation of the individual by an... Sample PDF
The Interactive Spectacle and the Digital Situationist
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Chapter 13
Shaun Lawson
People use spatial language in everyday face-to-face conversation, and we also now use such language during everyday computer-mediated interactions.... Sample PDF
Spatial Language in Computer Mediated Communication
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Chapter 14
Phil Turner
Recent years have witnessed a number of initiatives to develop technology (“memory prosthetics”) to enhance and extend human memory. Typical of... Sample PDF
Space, Place, and Memory Prosthetics
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Chapter 15
Julian Warner
This chapter is concerned with exposing the material basis for the concepts of the syntagm and paradigm from linguistics, and the message and... Sample PDF
Materializing Communication Concepts: Linearity and Surface in Linguistics and Information Theory
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Chapter 16
Sándor Darányi, Péter Wittek
Current methods of automatic indexing, automatic classification, and information retrieval treat index and query terms, that is, vocabulary units in... Sample PDF
On Information, Meaning, Space and Geometry
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