Negative Space

I find myself with what we’ll call enough spare time between face to face social interactions. That time is certainly giving me a lot of time to think (perhaps too much) and occasionally do chores. In the midst of this, the term “negative space” kept popping up in my thoughts. As defined by Wikipedia, it’s “… the space around and between the subject(s) of an image”.

While this is mainly used in the context of art, it’s still fitting for me. However, the subject of an image are life events, interactions, moments. The in-between, the downtime, the solitude is my negative space. It’s where I am able to process whatever it was I just experienced and took in. It lets me focus on those specific points and understand as much as I can about them. Too much “stuff” and it gets harder to appreciate everything I have around me. Like many art galleries, each piece needs its room to stand alone and be appreciated for what it is without being imposed on by its surrounding works.

Yet all that space in between is anything but empty. The Japanese term “Ma” also fits in that its an “…experiential place understood with emphasis on interval”. It gives proper weight to the space between and how it shapes those intervals and moments. Reminds me of an early blog post that referenced Imogen Heap’s song “Wait it Out” that says “But what of the wretched hollow, the endless in between?Are we just going to wait it out?” Perhaps it isn’t about waiting it out, but about leaving time to be formed and changed.

It’s a continuous challenge to not overbook myself and to also not take the negative space between moments for granted. They have their purpose, too. Let’s just hope that it is being put to good use.