Suspending Space and Time: The Body Under the Lens of the Japanese Concept of Ma

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11576)


Ma means emptiness, space, time or pause and its origin is correlated to the ideas of transience and incompleteness characteristic of Zen-Buddhist aesthetics. However, more than a concept, Ma is a modus operandi in Japanese daily life, which illustrates a place available for the materialization of potential events. It is an inter-space of connection through which people, actions, objects can pass and that, precisely for this reason, is the place of the present time. In this article, we will address the application of Ma as the guiding principle of the process of creation in the arts of the body. The body will be treated as a Ma-body, that is, a body-in-process, in constant movement and total availability for interaction with various media and technologies in the production of meaning and creation of different art objects.


Body Performance Animation Ma Buddhist aesthetic Interaction Creative process Improvisation 


  1. 1.
    Free Online Dictionary. Accessed 24 Jan 2018
  2. 2.
    Okano, M.: MA: interspace of art and communication in Japan (in Portuguese). Annablume, São Paulo (2012)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Greiner, C.: The art of living inbetween (In Portuguese) preface. In: Okano, M. (ed.) MA: Interspace of Art and Communication in Japan (in Portuguese). Annablume, São Paulo (2012)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Komparu, K.: The Noh Theatre: Principles and Perpsectives. Wheatherhill, New York (1983)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Fletcher, A.: The Art of Looking Sideways, p. 370. Phaidon, London (2001)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Okano, M.: MA space and Hélio Oiticica (in Portuguese). In: Greiner, C., Muniz Fernandes, R. (eds.) Tokyogaqui: An imagined Japan (in Portuguese), pp. 176–187. SESC, São Paulo (2008)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Samten, L.: The Wheel of Life (In Portuguese). Peirópolis, São Paulo (2010)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Greiner, C.: Butô: Thought in Evolution (in Portuguese). Escrituras, São Paulo (1998)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Mann, J.: When Buddhists Attack. Tuttle Publishing, Vermont (2012)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Shioda, G.: Dynamic Aikido. Kodansha International, Tokyo (1977)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Barba, E., Savarese, N.: A Dictionary of Theatre Anthropology. Routledge, New York (2006)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Morioka, M.: How to create Ma – the living pause. Int. J. Dialogical Sci. 9(1), 81–95 (2015)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Barba, E.: The Paper Canoe. Routledge, New York (1995)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ferrara, L.: Leitura Sem Palavras. Ática, São Paulo (2002)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Nhat Hanh, T.: Call me by My True Names – The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh. Parallax Press, Berkeley (2005)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wylie-Marques, K.: Opening the actor’s spiritual heart: the Zen influence on Noh training and performance. J. Dramatic Theor. Criticism XVIII(1), 131–160 (2003). Fall 2003Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ibri, I.A.: Kósmos Noetós: The metaphysical architecture of Charles S. Peirce (In Portuguese). Paulus, São Paulo (2015)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lotman, I.M.: La semiosfera I - Semiótica dela Cultura e del Testo. Ediciones Cátedra, S.A., Madrid (1996)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Santos, M.: A natureza e o espaço: técnica e tempo, razão e emoção. 4 edn. EDUSP, São Paulo (2002)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Berque, A.: Milieu e Logique du Milieu chez Watsugi. Revue Philosophique de Louvain, pp. 495–507 (1994). Accessed 13 Feb 2019

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of DesignUniversity Anhembi MorumbiSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Museum Paço das Artes, State of Culture of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Art: History, Critics and CuratorshipPUC/SP Pontifícia Universidade CatólicaSão PauloBrazil

Personalised recommendations