Makān (مَكَان) is the noun of place from the verb كَانَ (kāna, “to be”), which translates to (in Arabic and Farsi):
1. place, location, position
2. status, dignity
makanism: The Question of ‘Where’
We discover various layers of the self in different spaces, time periods, and with other human beings. There are moments of contradiction that are all essential to the “perpetual process of becoming,” a notion Shari’ati introduces counter to the mere state of ‘being.’ It is the friction between heterotopia and utopia, reality and imagination, the self and the other, belief and disbelief, order and chaos, certainty and doubt that generates a powerful force which, paradoxically, harmonizes the process of becoming.
In this process, we create spaces with infinite connections. We form and experience these spaces, Foucault argues, in “the epoch of simultaneity: we are in the epoch of juxtaposition, the epoch of the near and far, of the side-by-side, of the dispersed” in which “space takes for us the form of relations among sites.” Spaces, to use the words of Heidegger, “receive their being from locations and not from ‘space’” while place functions as a requirement for what he believes to be man’s plight: to dwell; to remain at peace in the fourfold: earth and sky, divinities and mortals. Each location is meaningful only in the context of the space that emerges from the interplay between being and becoming.
To examine the question of where contributes to understanding the multilayered self, the spaces we create and the connections we form over the course of different time periods. It is the sense of place, “one of the most basic human dimensions of human experience—that close companion of the heart and mind, often subdued, yet potentially overwhelming,” according to Basso, that tempted me to trace spatial points in our everyday movements and its impact on our personal development.
makanism was created to explore the spatial positioning of people and space in hopes of understanding those links while traveling in their worlds. If countless places host critical moments in our everyday lives, how do we think beyond the normative set of links between time, place, and people? Shari'ati: The Preoccupied Flâneur in Paris is the first project of makānism. Check back for an upcoming project in New York.
curator: Maryam Rabiee
I work on interdisciplinary approaches to sustainable development. When I’m not tackling sustainability issues, I work on Ali Shari’ati and makanism-related projects.