Practice Notes: Generative (En)closures


It is evening and I have come to walk the labyrinth under the trees. Following the winding narrow paths between the rows of stone, looping around the same patch of earth again and again from new directions, I think about space as a mode of accommodation, as a boundless allowing. I am struck by the strange fullness of every stone and leaf and blade of grass, each pregnant with an unfathomable presence, each irreducibly unique; and yet in all this excess of form, space’s potential is unexhausted. I think about how these labyrinthine lines of stone both constrain movement and enact new potential, as the (en)closures of our bodies and our constructs are similarly generative: so many ways that space can flower. We seem always to move within limits, but is there a limit to the forms these limiting borders may take? What richness is available for each new pattern to evoke, for each new pathway to enact?

As I move around the labyrinth, slowly tracing out this space within the larger space of the garden, sensing the movements of my body and the play of thought and image “within” me, listening to the rush of cars on the freeway not far away, I notice first a layering and overlapping of perspectives and spaces, which then seems to collapse and somehow become spaceless. Turning a bend on the path, sunlight streams suddenly through the branches of the tree, illuminating the motes of dust hanging in the air under the branches and the watchful squirrels, and I experience the whole scene as somehow virtual, a patterned readout which overlaps with other readouts — other perspective-spaces — like a field of infinitely slippery spheres which forever interpenetrate and withdraw. I do not have the impression that the surrounding space I perceive isn’t really “there”; rather, the patterned space in its transtemporal imbrication seems simultaneously given and not given, found and called forth, as the squirrels looking on summon their given world, and the trees their own as well.