ENCOUNTER POINTS: micro events
The seat by the door
In the feature image, the wheelchair is located in a niche, by the entry door of a hospital clinic, for use by a handicapped person to move around, and/or to be used while waiting in that specific location, for someone to be wheeled out of the hospital … an institutional but still agreeable micro event encounter.
The context of seats by the door, whether residential, institutional, etc. and their location: whether indoor or outdoor, will produce different layouts, different types of seats, and different interpretations of their intended use, to wit:
The cheery Xmas lights frames the porch sofa placed by the lace curtained window, but close enough to the door to act as the surrogate gate-keeper of that rather gloomy façade … hence perhaps the avoidance of impertinent encounters!
The long flat bench by the door is for outdoor consumption of store-bought food; the molded slat bench by the tree is for public sunning, waiting, reading … the fellow at the end of the flat bench is soaking in the sun, far from the entry door but still with a risk of a reprobating look.
The green foliage archway at this park entrance harbors three benches … some folk will favor their in-between situation … and the shade. At a respectable distance from each other, the benches require a special effort to seek the micro event of a sympathetic encounter.
Two back to back benches, located just outside the entry to a public market, don’t preclude face to face exchange by users, strategically sitting at one end for ease of moving legs around. Talk of an encounter point experience!
The outdoor seating areas of coffee places usually have their access located by the place entry door for ease of supervision. Their street-side is usually well delimited to prevent non-consuming traffic from slinking in.
Camera mediated micro events.
Daily activities that put us on automatic pilot may occasionally provide a micro event recording opportunity … as long as the camera is right along, which presumes an interest in such micro encounter points experience … to wit:
Arriving at a special coffee place table, I semi-automatically place on it my folding umbrella and taxi driver cap … only to note, once seated, that they are keeping company, in a visually interesting way, with a sprig of green in a glass of water already on the table. Simply irresistible!
Yes … that is my kitchen sink drain on the left bottom of the image … and these are elements of my cat feeding equipment full of water and waiting to be washed. I simply can’t imagine this as a conscious composition … chance placing is basic to this colorful assembly of items, turning it into a micro encounter event.
Dresses at a flea-market … hanging upright, but with a propensity for leaning at a micro encounter event angle!
With my best wishes to the reader for a happy holiday season and healthy and peaceful new year!
Credit all images Maurice Amiel
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maurice Amiel, M. Arch. (U.C. Berkeley) is retired professor of Environmental Design at the School of Design, University of Quebec at Montreal, where he was involved mainly in environment-behaviour teaching and applied research projects. In order to promote environmental awareness, he has turned after retiring to documenting and writing about various physical and human agents contributing to a sense of self, place and sociability ... I wish to add to my interests the fundamental role of light in photography and the visual structure of all 2D forms of artwork.