Journal of Arts & Ideas, no. 8 (July-Sept 1984) p. 5.


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Approach to Topoanalysis and to the Paradigmatics of Dramaturgic Space

Darko Suvin

[The] modalities of space perception express always the subjects total life, the energy with which it tends toward a future through its body and its world.

M. Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenologie de la perception

I SHALL take as my starting point the evident fact that any dramaturgic (re)pre-sentation and theatrical performance is crucially a sight of a non-empirical spacetime shown to a group of spectators (cf. Suvin Brecht 2ff., 19ff., et passim), an interaction between a group ofperceivers and a perceived whole which is axed on a prospect of imaginable and significant human relationships, presented in a visually immediate but factually unreachable way. Plays read by a single reader rather than performed to a group constitute a separate sub-problem, but I would argue their reading is (at least as a rule) modelled on an imaginative reconstruction of a normative performance, so that for this occasion I do not need to consider it. Space will in this essay be understood as a qualitative ensemble whose attributes signify different ideological ways of envisaging conceivable societal relations. It will also be understood as a four-dimensional manifold or continuum of relationships between agents and objects which may give smaller or larger prominence to the consubstantial dimension of time (Granet, Min-kowski), so that in this first approach time does not need to be singled out. The first part will deal with general axiomatics of space analysis, and the second with dramaturgic space.

Topoanalysis and a Proposed Axiomatics

Space is originally not an order among things but rather a quality of things in relation to us H. Wallon, De I Acte u hi Pen\ee

Spatial analysis or topoanalysis in cultural studies (including in it aho philosophy, physics, sociology, and psychology) has illustrious precursors from Aristotle and Euclid to Newton and Kant(cf. Gent). The watershed towards pre-

Joumal of Arts and Ideas 5


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