~ Ma ~ (Empty Space)   5 comments

In North Carolina, cypress logs rise out of the Neuse River, rendered as an all-white background, highlighting Ma, or empty space


For best effect, I recommend viewing this image Large on a White Background

Ma is a Japanese word which can be roughly translated as “gap”, “space”, “pause” or as “the space between two structural parts.” In Japanese, ma suggests interval. It is best described as a consciousness of place, not in the sense of an enclosed three-dimensional entity, but the simultaneous awareness of form and non-form deriving from an intensification of vision.

Ma is the thing that takes place in the imagination of the human who experiences these elements. Therefore ma can be defined as experiential place understood with emphasis on interval.

There is no equivalent single word term for Ma in the English language. Sad, but true.

In composing this, I recalled the extraordinary and controversial work of John Cage with his composition 4’33” wherein the three movements are performed without a single note being played, allowing it to be perceived as the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed

Thirty spokes meet in the hub,
but the empty space between them
is the essence of the wheel.

Pots are formed from clay,
but the empty space between it
is the essence of the pot.

Walls with windows and doors form the house,
but the empty space within it
is the essence of the house.

— Lao Tse “The Uses of Not”

5 responses to “~ Ma ~ (Empty Space)

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  1. Wow, this is a great image Rob. Love the use of the negative space, or ‘Ma’. Fantastic!

  2. I agree, this shot works very well!

  3. There are no words to express how important this ideal is. It is related to “Mu” or “Wu” and even the taoist’s “P’u” and it is the essence and ?possibly? the core of enlightenment. It is what I experience in meditation when I can get to that state. It is beyond left and right, good or evil, right and wrong, yes and no. It is no thing yet the source of all.

    When I used to paint I would stand in front of a blank canvas and before any stroke or mark that canvas was perfect, true beauty, and it contained all things. That very first stroke of the brush reduced it by multitudes and it left its Mu state to live in this world of yes and no, right and wrong… a parallel can be drawn to your mind and how you life your life… and create your art.

    Stunning image Rob!

  4. Im a big fan of minimilistic images like this because its so open to interpretation. You did a great job with this

  5. Thanks for all the great comments, friends. I’m glad you liked it, and extra glad that you came by to visit. /Rob

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