Spaces that are not

In certain places in Switzerland (and other countries also), as part of the building permission process, future buildings are required to be staked out with tall profiles to indicate their size and position…

The virtual spaces these profiles create often make me thoughtful. They will sometimes be erected in free space, in a woodland, in a field or jutting out of the roof of an old building, in anticipation of some structure that is going to fill that space in the future.

I find this quite surreal.

A bit like when you remove a tree… you climb it in the morning, establish an anchor point and get to work. Gradually you dismantle the tree, bit by bit until you have it all on the ground and through the chipper. Looking up at the space where the tree used to be just a short moment ago, now there is nothing – yet up there, twenty meters in the air, is where your anchor point was this morning. Due to my intervention the structure at that point is irreversibly no longer there… I am also frequently struck by the void left by a big tree once it has had to been removed, as though echoes of the essence of the tree linger on for a moment, likewise the vegetation surrounding the space the tree used to take up still mirrors it and will only encroach upon the newly freed up space over time.

I find both instances interesting, as they form an interesting dichotomy in the sense that the first represents the anticipation of ways in which spaces will be filled and altered in the future, the second the void left behind when structures – be it artificial or grown ones – are removed and the resulting empty space.

Well, there you go, that is then kind of thing that I can ponder. Yes, I have probably spent too much time driving this week…