In the “history of the victors”1 you only hear about the family: the hegemonic mother-father-children family who lives happily in their very own American Dream house. The narrative of divorce is familiar yet rarely told. It is seen as a shameful, guilt-filled story of failure, yet it is the reality for at least half of “families” today.

Creation of a “third zone,” a space which “exists not only between the stranger and the non-stranger but also between the inner and outer worlds of the stranger”2 breaks down the concept of singular narratives and the binary. It is a new zone where realms of mutually shared and non-shared experience can be overlapped and experienced by all. “In the Gap” will overlap the experiences of myself, my mother, and my father with those of others in situations of divorce and those in other familial situations and arrangements. Text and spoken word should overlap to create complex, layered experiences that are at once multiple and singular. “[D]esign should deconstruct life. Design should unmask and uncover our singular and plural lives, our lived experience, and a history of this experience.”3 Remember also that divorce, like marriage, is one of many arrangements and is itself neither necessarily singular nor binary in its narrative.

The healing and therapeutic powers of “In the Gap” are central to its purpose.4 It is about self-reflection, giving voice, accepting, letting go, and resolution. “Self-healing must be combined with healing others, being healed while healing, making whole, and articulating and curing wounded psycho-social relations.”5 It is about finding discrepancies, understandings, conflicts, and parallels that exist simultaneously. It is about developing a healthy, playful distance intellectually, emotionally, and physically. Maybe it means playing hopscotch between the walls of frustration. Maybe it means being able to walk all around the walls. Maybe this means breaking the binary.

The walls of the parking lot exit ramp and all of the parking lot belong to Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey as do the brick buildings of the backdrop. “[S]tate architecture appears solid, symbolically full, rooted in sacred historic ground”6 and hegemonic norms. It is official. It is full of binaries. “In the Gap” piggybacks on those hegemonic norms and binaries and allows them to expand and become complex. It allows people to play around them, to experience the blurring of them through technology, through the blurring of voices and experiences. What is marriage? What is divorce? What is quality time? What is a calendar? What is a schedule? What is communication? What is good communication? What is private? What is public? And where?

Is the University a public or a private space? Can we consider it an example of the trend of privatization of public space? Or has it always somehow been private? Since a private space is one which is regulated, one which is defensible,7 what does it mean to publicize private narratives within that space? Does the letting down of personal regulations, reservations, and defenses disrupt those of the private public space? What does the intimacy created by the sharing of private – but shared – narratives about divorce do for the people within that zone? Does it privatize the public or publicize the private? Can a space be “privatized” in a way that is public, or makes the space public? It seems to depend on who is doing the privatizing. What about degrees of privacy and publicity?

We experience both internal and external spaces and places.8 These cannot be separated as they inform one another. Expressive or narrative art allows the binary of the internal and the external to blend. Virtual reality becomes a kind of internal space, full of internal places where we have internal (often private and/or emotional) experiences. When technology brings that virtual reality into real experience/reality, both internality and externality exist as one. The divorce narratives of “In the Gap” allow internal spaces and experience to become external in the actual space/place of the exit ramp, and the external spaces and experience to become internal(ized), related, and appropriated to one's own life.9 The continuous sharing of new and related narratives on the walls beneath the divorce narrative continues the cycle and creates new flows.

Mapping flows and directing others around the space of the exit ramp (though never allowing them to exit until the experience was “done”) allowed for the mapping of experience onto an environment.10 The map for “In the Gap” is abstract, at once geometric and nonlinear. It creates a cyclic flow for followers. It provides direction and yet is also personal, emotional, and internal. It illustrates internal ideas about entrapment. What is most important is not the actual landmarks of the place, which are almost unidentifiable on the map, but the ways and limits of moving through a space representative of an oppositional, conflicted binary. The map is of the external place and is not of the external place at all. The map is of the experience and not of the experience at all.

Technologies create possibilities because they allow users to cross boundaries and binaries. Virtual realities and spaces “can alter the nature of interaction so that it is possible to sustain multiple, simultaneous conversations” and to experience multiple, simultaneous narratives or realities.11 Listening to a child's narrative while reading a parent's narrative while walking through real space as one's own self creates multiple narratives. It creates new realms and possibilities of experience, where one is at once oneself and someone(s) else. The others' narratives become their own and yours. The others are at once themselves somewhere in space/place/time and at once present and speaking. Virtual reality becomes reality through the user of technology. What is real is distorted and rearranged.

Displacing the concept of time as linear and uninterrupted is paramount, especially in the case of narratives and shared experience. Time must be able to be flexible, to be broken up and down, and to be reused and appropriated by memories and other people as wanted.12 Calendar days become disjointed as part of “In the Gap”'s attempt to illustrate time as a commodity, with the possibility of being traded and switched around. The divorced parents are in a struggle over time, though it is frustratingly never something either feels they can adequately grasp, have enough of, or control to their liking through schedules. In the project, time is also simultaneously compressed and expanded visually and spatially. One can walk time as a distance, or read it as a time line. And yet days are missing and arbitrary, as in memory. We can arrange time in our minds, in and outside of our experiences of it.

Experiencing others' narratives is also a mode of self-exploration, where one's own identity can be multiple and decentered.13 It is a mode of experiencing without experiencing, of being oneself while being another, of being independent and responsible while being lead and relieved of responsibility. The narrative is not yours to tell, just yours to experience. “In the Gap” gives you an experience: a map with directions, statements to read, a voice to listen to, a hopscotch board to hop. But you must do it, you must experience it. Your reality is “a construct of your experience, a creation of feeling and thought.”14 “In the Gap” constructs for you an experience, so as to give you a broader sense of reality. You are the experience, you carry the experience, you create the experience, and yet it is not (all) yours. Share it.

To fill In the Gap:

1. Interrupt the history of the victors with my lived history, a real narrative.

2. Create new open spaces for the sharing of experiences and narratives. Bring both strangers and non-strangers together. Bring the private out into the public for recognition.

3. Complicate singular or binary narratives into layered, multiplicitous narratives.

4. Heal pain, shame, guilt, frustration, and silence through expression, through distance, through movement, through play.

5. Question hegemonic norms and binaries of place and space through the social and emotional. Question hegemonic norms and binaries of the social and emotional through place and space.

6. Blur the boundaries of what is deemed public and what is deemed private, in terms of space, place, and narrative.

7. Be confused. Be unsure. Good. Okay.

8. Cycle the external into oneself and cycle the internal out into the world.

9. Remap and reimagine perceptions and understandings of the world through psychogeographies.

10. Take nothing as pure truth. Make your own.

11. Employ technologies to cross boundaries between virtual and real in both the public and private, and to cross the public and private.

12. Play with time. It's all in your head.

13. Share experiences. Be the experienced, the experiencing, and the non-experienced, the non-experiencing at the same time.

1(4) Wodiczko,Krzysztof. Critical Vehicles:Writings, Projects, Interviews, 1999.
2(11) Wodiczko,Krzysztof. Critical Vehicles:Writings, Projects, Interviews, 1999.
3(16) Wodiczko,Krzysztof. Critical Vehicles:Writings, Projects, Interviews, 1999.
4(13) Wodiczko,Krzysztof. Critical Vehicles:Writings, Projects, Interviews, 1999.
5(14) Wodiczko,Krzysztof. Critical Vehicles:Writings, Projects, Interviews, 1999.
6(28) Wodiczko,Krzysztof. Critical Vehicles:Writings, Projects, Interviews, 1999.
7(18) Kitchin, Robert. Introducing Cyberspace, 1998.
8Foucault, Michel. “Heterotopias.” Of Other Places, 1967.
9(169) Xavier de Maistre. Voyage Around My Room, 1790.
10(200) Dietz, Steve. “Mapping the Homonculus.”
11(20) Kitchin, Robert. Introducing Cyberspace, 1998.
12Borges, Jorge Luis. The Garden of Forking Paths, 1941.
13(23-24) Kitchin, Robert. Introducing Cyberspace, 1998.
14Tuan, Yi Fu. “Experiential Perspective.” Space and Place, 1977.