genius loci is about the connection of space and place. the history and the context. the rooting and the sense. the location and the meaning. the physical and the virtual. the function and the poetry.
creating a sense of place
location as such is important in the purposeful social space. it is where we are, even if we communicate in the virtual space. humans are always connected to their physical location.
but there is more, there is the context of the location, the history, the function. the word locus might cover that broader meaning. what counts in the purposeful social space is the sense which the specific locus implies. that's why we called this element 'genius loci'.
in contrast to the idea that genius loci is a given that we only can experience without influencing it, we believe it is designable and makeable. and, because of the fact that we are always located, it is even more important. a purposeful social space is a human artifact and based on conscious choices rooted in free will and therefor it is paramount that we are profoundly aware of the mechanisms that shape the appearance and experience of where we are at a given time or time span. the genius (spirit) is human.
object, artefact, place and form
as nobody can be nowhere, everybody has a physical location. locus of the purposeful social is the physical characteristics of a place combined with the humans that use and make up that space.
locus has a very physical aspect that is shaped by man. it is always about the traces that human activity leaves, however minute. so locus is connected to the form of the result of that action.
but that is only part of the story, it becomes interesting when the shapes of the space become the result of conscious behavour. that can be an actively shaping and that can be a guarding the shape that occurred through human activity.
it is that consciousness which provides the meaning to the form of the shaped space. therein lies the genius of the space.
in the current era the shape of the objects that constitute the space is not the only form of the space. pictures that represent those objects have become important carriers of the locus. the real world is partly replaced by a picture of the world. but the picture of the object and its meaning remains an important carrier of the sense of place as long as participants have an active relationship with the original shape. paris is in some way also the picture of paris and vice versa.
for the genius locus of the purposeful social space the degree of tangibility of the space is somehow irrelevant. what is relevant is how the actual physical locations of the participants relate to the genius loci of the social space. this provides new opportunities and challenges for design.in that sense contemporary genius loci is about relationships.
the sense of this website is hopefully not too different from the sense of the place where it is made. and somehow this is also the case for the regular readers.
burning man: the artistic temporary eco-desert dwellers
fresh food lovers in a highly dense urban setting
ancient breeding ground for assertive leaders
working class decency in a patriarchal setting
iconic modernism for production of fast moving consumer goods avant la lettre
the source of life
with the purpose to transfer to your destination
the genius loci expressed in contemporary artifacts becomes more and more iconic.
locus is an element that relates to scale. the size of the area that carries a common genius can vary. most small entities with a sense of place are part of a bigger entity with a sense of place of a different order.
the neigbourhood is part of a city that is part of a region. at the largest scale they share a specific feeling, but at a smaller scale there maybe differences in what people regards as typical.
there seldom is a single unique genius, it is a layer of senses that are relevant at different scales and thus for different sections of people.