Surrounded by meaning

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A surrounding array of textured area and space

An everyday event surrounded by expanses of possible meaning

When we stand in the field marking out the streets for the new town, or when we sit at our computer writing the code that will inflate a bubble of virtual space, we are creating within the torsions and landmarks of a region of history and language. That region, in turn, lies within the ongoing process of making and remaking meaning. Sets of combinations and the resulting texture of definite possibilities are themselves effects produced in a process not dominated by such definition, though never without some definition that it overreaches.

There is a pre-existing array of textures and expanses surrounding us in physical space that allows us to make places. The sphere of meaning has something pre-existing as well, the expanse of meaning both made and traversed by the process of place making. Like physical space it is not blank, and like physical space it opens places out into uncontrollable externalities. There is always more meaning available, always another signification, always another way of making signifiers or of reusing the ones we have. Any set of distinguished aspects can have other meanings, can be used metaphorically, can be extended, quoted, reused, put into new context, crossed with other sets, and so on. So, being-in meaning and language is not a straightforward inhabitation of a single grammar.