TMESIS: Insertions and Subversions of Interstitial Territories

Paul Blindell, Penny Sykes

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The exploration of our environment at physical and perceptual levels creates emergent and transcendent experiences; occupied territories that transform ideas into experiences. TMESIS (the separation of the elements of a compound word by the interposition of another, e.g. abso-bloody-lutely) operates as a language statement for the study of existing and proposed interventions within and beyond the spatial environment. Derived from the Greek temnein [to cut], TMESIS requires both a compound structure (absolutely) and an interposed fragment (bloody) to form a relationship, which places greater emphasis on the original meaning. It creates an enhanced and accentuated reading of the compound/intervention relationship. Wrestled free from these literary relationships, TMESIS is here expanded into a wider spatial context, developing a new methodology for the reading of compound architectures, interior interventions and their enhanced relationships. It provides new opportunities to understand the inherent dialogues and enhanced meanings that emerge through the intervention and subversion of existing territories. TMESIS is explored at three key levels, and introduces Heidegger’s ‘tool-analysis’ as a theoretical construct within which to examine spatial relationships. Through a series of case study examinations, the evaluation of insertion and intervention projects may begin to uncover and re-describe emergent entities and new design perspectives. The first section explores the principles of TMESIS and tool-being with reference to inserted and interposed environments within an existing (architectural) fabric: a descriptive device, which explores the primary concerns of differentiation. The second section will explore TMESIS as a subversion of the existing occupied space and suggest the political and strategic potential of this view within current global and architectural design contexts. The third and final section will propose that current and future experiences and memories can act as a TMESIS within the existing environment: that architecture and design operate as interventions and subversions of the existing paradigm
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-41
Number of pages10
JournalIDEA Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2009

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