An investigation into the Japanese Notion of 'Ma': Practising Sculpture within Space-Time Dialogues

Goda, Sachiyo (2011) An investigation into the Japanese Notion of 'Ma': Practising Sculpture within Space-Time Dialogues. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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The ancient Japanese space-time idea of ma has many aspects, not only in philosophical and artistic pursuits, but also in everyday life. Ma is difficult to pin down because it is an entirely relational concept and the word is only intelligible within our most subjective responses to temporal and spatial discontinuities: its key characteristic being a unity of experience across two fields of aesthetic encounter usually kept apart in the West. These subtle shifts of meaning and attribution within a single spatio temporal domain have made ma difficult to adapt for Western purposes. Whereas the cultural critic Mark C. Taylor (1997) recognizes ma as the art of ‘spacing-timing’, the art historian James Elkins (2003) confines ma to our appreciation of negative spaces in the visual arts. Both fail to note the broader field of references used by the Japanese and my doctoral project was initiated as a response to the rich spatio-temporal ambiguity of the term and the subtle forms of dialogic awareness it can introduce into the everyday routines of a creative practitioner who is, like myself, from Japan. Because ma operates at so many levels, throughout this thesis I relate my discussion to historical and contemporary artists, performers, writers, film-makers, architects, gardeners, psychologists, philosophers and theologians.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ma, intersubjectivity, everyday aesthetics, art practice
Subjects: W100 Fine Art
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Arts
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
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Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2011 10:58
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 14:06

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