The embodiment of space

"We cannot express its relation to ourselves in any other way than by imagining that we are in motion, measuring the length, width and depth, or by attributing to the static lines, surfaces, and volumes the movement that our eyes and our kinesthetic sensations suggest to us, even though we survey the dimensions while standing still. The spatial construct is a human creation and cannot confront the creative or appreciative subject as if it were a cold, crystallized form."

- Schmarsow, August (1994)

Why do I blog this? I quite like how that quote reflects the importance of the body in space: it's because we are embodied that we can create a spatial construct which corresponds to our reading of the spatial environment. An example? See this street spotted in Amsterdam below, if you're a skateboarder, this quote will make sense: you felt the curved sidewalk only by seeing it, feeling how this would be experienced afterwards with your board. And indeed, the affordance is to make an ollie and use it to jump.

Curved sidewalk

Now, what does that mean for the design of ubiquitous computing systems? I don't have a unique answer but it certainly gives some inspiration about how to create affordances that can be bodily experienced through shapes, forms or representations.