Intentional societal change happens in the cracks, where things are coming together or coming apart, in place and in time, at the interstices. These are where the edges of social forms are coming together, geographically, demographically, and temporally, or where newly formed edges are drawing apart as a social form divides. An interstice is an intervening space, especially a very small one, from the phrase “to stand between.” This is where the concentrated work of change is done, and where artists and researchers play.
Shakespeare and company’s Globe Theatre was located at the geo-demographical interstice of London and surrounding countryside, and located at the historical interstice of the preceding Medieval, and emerging Modern European eras.
“Craftsmen and peasants sometimes succeeded in protecting small-scale production and their ways of self-determination, occasionally by extreme measures such as revolts, but gradually lost out to the growing financial power of merchant-entrepreneurs and their Burgundian and Habsburg rulers. Moreover, growing population pressure undermined real wages, and poor relief and the actions undertaken by public authorities were hardly able to curb the negative effects on welfare.”
-Bas van Bavel, Manors and Markets: Economy and Society in the Low Countries 500-1600
The vital scene and people, the scenius*, of Shakespeare’s company comprised a mutual interaction environment, thriving in the midst of tumultuous change, feeding on and feeding into the burgeoning Renaissance. (*h/t Brian Eno)
“Merchants, entrepreneurs, and bankers accumulated and manipulated capital in unprecedented volume. Capital assumed a major role not only in economic organization but also in political life and international relations. Culturally, new values — many of them associated with the Renaissance and Reformation — diffused through Europe and changed the ways in which people acted and the perspectives by which they viewed themselves and the world.”
-Encyclopædia Britannica, The Emergence of Modern Europe, 1500-1648
The interstitial scenius of the Globe Theatre was part of the radical change in people’s ways and views. A small troupe of people played a major role in the world’s story. All the world was their stage.
Now the world is our stage. It is up to us to do the moving work of change, in the world’s interstices.
“Movement never lies” -Martha Graham
The image, and its generative pattern charts are from the design project, Interstice – A Tribute to Martha Graham, of Wamika Bansal and Arjun Sara: a movement space with “a fabric of swaying threads, a medium to express, performing every gesture around, intensifying the space”
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