Friday, January 24, 2014

Life of a Saluki Architecture Grad Student

By John Svast

Happy New Year’s Readers!
It is great to be back at SIU and working on my thesis!  Want to hear a little bit about my thesis?  Of Course you do!
Currently I’m doing research on a theory of space and communication that was developed by Edward T. Hall called proxemics.  In Mr. Hall’s theory, he goes on to explain how there are multiple bubbles of space that each individual human exists in that is invisible to the eye but is extraordinarily important when it comes to how we humans communicate with each other.  In Mr. Hall’s book The Hidden Dimension, he describes the various bubbles of space and their approximate distances of space and the various activities that regularly occur in those spaces. 
The 4 main bubbles of space that he writes about are:
Intimate space:  1.5’
Personal space:  4’
Social space:  12’
Public space: 25’
Inside of all these bubbles there are specific activities that we consider safe or comfortable.  If an activity occurs or a person that is not accepted within that bubble then the stress level of the person starts to rise.  For example, if you are making a presentation to your coworkers which is an activity that is normally held at around the 12’ to 25’ space you would probably be at a moderate stress level.  Now move that level closer to the 4’ to 12’ range and you would probably feel your stress levels increase.  Now pretend these aren’t coworkers but strangers in your 4’to 12’ range and your stress level would increase.  Move it in further to the 1.5’ to 4’ range and your stress would really start to go off the charts.  Now move it within your intimate space of 1.5’ and I assume at this point is when you would probably start to physically push people away to remove them out of your intimate space.
Something to consider when talking about proxemics is that it is slightly different for each individual within a certain cultural but is very different when comparing different cultures.  For example, the distances I gave you about spaces above where just pertaining to Americans, if you compare those acceptable distances and activities to the Arab world you will see that they are quite different and could easily lead to altercations stemming from spatial misunderstandings. 
In my thesis I will be tackling this theory of Proxemics on a different level, I will be trying to analyze how proxemics works in social media and what types of spaces and activities are acceptable and then transverse that back into an urban environment.

If you want more information on Edward T. Halls work here is a link:

FYI:    January 25th is Robbie Burns Day!

If you want to try Haggis and you are not in Scotland then Robbie Burns Days is usually your only chance.

here is an event to be held on the 23 in St Louis at the Tap Room:


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