Cutting Space—Cutting Body: The Nature of the Grotesque in Umwelt

  • Kirill Maslov
  • Nikita Kharlamov


We give psychological elaboration to some of Rayner’s (2011) ideas. For the idea of a space and boundaries within it many psychological explanations are possible. We elaborate the boundaries as these occur in urban contexts as well as in the flow of irreversible time (between future and past). Shifting boundaries or any act of transforming them leads to changes in the understanding of the whole. Boundaries within space and between different fields—while having a physical existence—have also a symbolic component, which is specific to human beings. We reframe the dynamic concept of boundaries along the lines of Bergson’s idea of durée, which allows us conceptualize boundaries between bodies and environments, as well as boundaries in the environment, as ever transforming in spaces of ambiguity and, following Bakhtin, grotesque. This opens way for treating the boundary phenomena as functionally emerging in person-environment—or, in von Uexküll’s terms, organism-Umwelt relation. Following Heidegger, we conclude that through dynamic boundary-making we as species dwell in the world and make the world.


Boundary Duration Space Umwelt Systems theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tallinn UniversityTallinnEstonia
  2. 2.Clark UniversityWorcesterUSA

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