Political Space

Space is political through its differentiation. We define space through borders and the drawing of these borders is politically charged. Just as we define art through scale, we define space through scale. The scale of a space determines its difference in relation to other spaces. Spaces can exist within other political spaces. NYC exists within the larger space of the United States, but we understand that each space carries its own cultural, social, and economic meaning. It is easy to imagine a space such as the White House or Trump Towers as political as we think of the legislative politics that occur within or reside within the space. While it is true that these spaces are political, we should understand that all space is political. Space is one fluid body naturally; there is no inherent border within space. Adopting the mindset that space is actually one material thing, we should recognize that “space” as we know and call it is political through the distinctions we make in the different kinds of space that exist within the one natural body. Humans have given space meaning, meaning that carries cultural, social, and economic connotations. This division of kinds of space is political in that the very process of naming a space as having one meaning intends to eliminate the presence of other possible meanings. We distinguish spaces based on what they are not. NYC is defined as a space that is not Jersey City. If we didn’t create meanings of difference for space, there would be no reason to speak of multiple spaces, no need to name them. For instance, Lincoln Center is defined by its difference from Trump Towers. If we did not connote some difference in meaning to those two spaces, there would be no reason to name them or draw borders. Naming a space is political, in that through naming it we apply difference in meaning.

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