Spacing and Displacing as Artistic Enquiry

Spacing and Displacing as Artistic Enquiry

Taey Iohe (University College Dublin, Ireland)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8384-6.ch003


This chapter presents a philosophical journey and practical piece of experimentation on spatiality, virtuality and displacement. A series of art practices using photography, installation and art writing form the trajectory for a sequence of conceptual maps. The discussion engages with spacing and displacing as an artistic enquiry on space. The chapter consists of an examination of the typology and meaning of displacement in its translation from Korean, and a discussion of the formation of a gendered and artistically constructed displacement by extending the scope of the theory to the displacement of women in a colonial situation. This chapter explores the way in which displaced women (in the very particular case of Korean “comfort women” during the colonial war with Japan, and through the case of the artist, Hyeseok Na) cannot belong in either their home or a foreign land. Virtual-ness, here, is approached with an artistic understanding, and is found to constitute an unreal living space rather than merely a virtual environment through technology.
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Distance And Displacement

The distance from one place to another has a potential of transformation, which can be a form of abstract transformation. Let’s call this change ‘displacement’ before we explore the idea. Displacement has many meanings to unfold, even within one language. In order to re-locate the meaning of displacement in the context of cultural translation, I look at the semantic dimensions of the word displacement and how they come to be employed differently. Firstly, I look at displacement as a movement from A (Source/Departure) to B (Target/Arrival); secondly, I argue for displacement as a kind of turning. This enables us to see displacement as a conceptual movement and examines the liminal and politically significant spaces across which we translate; displacement as a state and a State.

Understanding the meaning of displacement in physics provides an initial important dimension for defining displacement as a process of the liminal state; being in a place of threshold. Distance and displacement are two quantities that refer to the characteristics of any path from one place to another. Distance is a scalar quantity, denoting a response to the question ‘How much ground has an object covered from (P) to another point (Q)?’ (Figure 1). This distance can take various paths, as in the diagram (a and c). Displacement, on the other hand, is a vector quantity, characterising the closest relationship between two places in the form of an x-and-y co-ordinate. Distance is an actual journey; the displacement can be a virtual journey, which is a sensation and result of distance.

Figure 1.

Distance and Displacement (© Taey Iohe)

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