Do environments influence rituals or do rituals inspire environments?
On Friday in my history and theory of design class, we set off with our small groups to explore the wonderful (and very cold) campus of UNCG. We have been discussing the people from the past and their use of what was around them and how they may of reacted to their surroundings.
Circles, groups, stacks, and people. They are literally all around us, especially here at UNCG. When we went walking in our small groups the teaching assistant's took us to some of the buildings and explained a little about the history and gave us some interesting facts. When I was thinking about the main question purposed to us, do environments influence rituals or do rituals inspire environments, I wanted to look a little more farther out and more in depth then just the campus buildings although they had the most obvious use of groups, circles, and stacks.
I started by snapping a photo of the city of Greensboro from the window of my studio space in the Gatewood building. Immediately there is evidence of grouping among the cluster of city buildings, the stacks of windows represent the mass amount of stacking within those building marking the different floors. Then there are the people, even though none are visible to the human eye in the certain picture there a hundreds of human scurrying around the entire city.
I then started walking around school for a second time on my own to see what else I could see. I slowly, but surely began to see how many circles, groups, and stacks were all around. I stopped in front of the Jackson Library which happens to be the center axis point of the school. In this picture I took (left), you can see the circle embedded in the ground and the basic structure of the library. What do you know... a giant circle of the ground, a half circle that marks the entrance to the building with big columns the help emphasize the entire library. The circles in the ground are continued throughout the entire campus, as well as the columns. Some are not so obvious like the Charles McIver building (right), but there are still columns more there for structural support and not to mention the stacks of geometric shapes decorating this side of the building.
My favorite building, that I constantly notice due to the detail of every arch and the bright red brick, is the Foust building (left). I really appreciate the arch over most the windows and doors, as well as the lighter stone that separates the buildings outer structure into multiple levels/floors and adds contrast to the building.
I also looked within the building and outside and I have decided circles are the more prominent shapes around campus, at least that I saw. On the gates outside the Weatherspoon Art Museum (left), or inside the museum on the second floor (right) where there is a huge circular window, and many more places all around campus. The detail on the trash cans, the spherical lights around campus, the fountain in front of the cafeteria, and countless others.
So, does the rituals people have influence the environment around them or the environment around the world? Or does the environment influence the rituals practiced around the world? Yes, to both of the questions. For years and years rituals have been connected to natural mountain formations and/or the pattern of the ocean, and vise-verse. I personally think that rituals are more influenced my the environment because the environment as a whole is bigger and more impacting then people can be. Depending on how one looks at the situation, it could go either way. I believe that regardless of how one views it, they must always remember to keep an open mind about both situations.