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Natureza humana

versão impressa ISSN 1517-2430

Nat. hum. v.4 n.1 São Paulo jun. 2002




Heidegger: space and art



Ute Guzzoni

Universidade de Freiburg, Alemanha

Endereço para correspondência




Este artigo trata de certos aspectos da compreensão heideggeriana da conexão entre espaço, arte e linguagem. Depois de explicitar o questionamento heideggeriano da visão metafísica do mundo e do espaço, a primeira seção desenvolve o caráter "acontecencial" e "espaciante" do espaço, bem como o jogo interativo do espaço com os seres humanos. A segunda parte ocupa-se do pensamento do Heidegger tardio, sobre a relação entre o espaço e as coisas, em particular as coisas específicas que são as obras de arte. Como o morar humano no espaço pode ser pensado como habitação no espaço da linguagem, a última parte do artigo trata da conexão entre espaço e objetos de arte verbais. Nesse contexto, uma atenção especial é dedicada ao caráter imaginal do pensamento heideggeriano e ao caráter de nadidade do espaço e do morar humano no aberto entre a terra e o céu.

Palavras-chave: Metafísica, Espaço, Linguagem, Obra de arte, Morada do homem.


This article treats some aspects of Heidegger's understanding of the interconnection of space, art and language. Beginning from the Heideggerian problematization of the metaphysical world-view and its concept of space, the first section develops the `occuring' and `spacing' character of space and the interactive interplay of space and human beings. The second part deals with Heidegger's later thinking of the relation between space and things and those specific things which are works of art. Since human dwelling in space may be thought of as inhabiting the space of language, the last part of the article treats the interconnection of space and art-works of language. In so doing it also turns its attention to the image-character of Heideggerian thinking and the nothingness-character of space and human dwelling in the interspace between earth and sky.

Keywords: Metaphysics, Space, Language, Work of art, Human dwelling place.



I think that in Heidegger there are to be noticed two different philosophical intuitions that to a certain degree contradict each other, but in other aspects are also very close to each other. Roughly speaking, these two intentions of thinking can be subsumed under the notions of `history of Being' and `world'; the notion of `time' is nearer to the first, the notion of `Space' belongs rather to the second. In Heidegger's way of thinking, in the beginning the conception of history of Being is more important than the other, while in his later years, in the forties and afterwards, he moved away at least from the strict exclusiveness of the conviction of the `Seinsgeschick' and `Seinsgeschichte', turning rather to the experience of world and things (and to language). Evidences for this turn may be found, among others, in some statements in the seminar concerning `Time and Being', where Heidegger speaks of a possible coming to an end of the history of Being and a vanishing of the ontological difference in favor of the difference of world and thing.

Thus this latter intuition can be designated as the `thought of the world'. In accordance with this the later Heidegger is mostly interested in the concrete particular occurring of Being and in the concrete being-in-the-world that is thought of as dwelling upon earth and under the sky, with mortals, and in the face of divinities. The question of space essentially belongs to this thinking, hence my following considerations of Heidegger's understanding of space and art move within this area.

The later Heidegger often mentions space in the context of considerations concerning art and works of art. In 1964, on the occasion of an exposition of Bernd Heiliger and in 1969 at an exposition of Edouardo Chillida, Heidegger expressed some "simple considerations" not only about art but, at the same time, starting from art and in the context of art, about space ("Bemerkungen zu Kunst - Plastik - Raum", St. Gallen 1996 und "Die Kunst und der Raum", St. Gallen 1969). Already in 1951 he similarly delved into the problem of space on the occasion of an exposition that concerned architecture and was titled "Mensch und Raum", giving the lecture "Bauen Wohnen Denken".

And not only the works of visual arts have, in Heidegger's conception, a special relationship to place, so that they are capable of opening regions for human beings and for things. To poetry, too, there belongs an essential relationship to space; thus, following Hölderlin, Heidegger can speak of "dichterisches Wohnen" and also of the "Nachbarschaft" (neighborhood) of thinking and poetic creating. Both of these words, dwelling and living in a neighborhood, are at least implicitly concerned with space. Heideggerian considerations about space are also found in the context of treatises on language and on the poetry of Hölderlin.

Is it the peculiar relation of works of art to space or the relation of space to works of art that leads Heidegger from space to art? Or might the reason for the peculiar suitability of art, especially of visual arts, to serve as a particular starting point to treat space, be found in the fact that in and for both of them the concrete and figurative character of things, the material, and the senses own a particular significance? The sensuous limits of the world, sky and earth, are in a spatial relationship to each other, provided they are taken as concrete entities, a spatial relationship within which the visual arts of sculpture and architecture have or incorporate their place. And they indeed have a concrete meaning in Heideggerian texts like "Das Ding", "Bauen Wohnen Denken", "Hebel - Der Hausfreund" and others (while in "Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes" the full concreteness of the world-dimensions is not yet attained).

In what follows I shall deal at first with Heidegger`s understanding of space (1) in order to prepare the treatment of the relation between space, art and thing in the next part (2). The last section (3) will thematize the interconnection of space and language.


1. Space, Region, Place

Ordinary Western convictions about reality are based on the assumption that we live within a world of individual beings, things or substances, some of which are human beings. True, things are supposed to be connected to each other by relations and common circumstances; nevertheless both of them, human and not-human beings, exist primarily and first of all for themselves and by themselves. This assumption seems to be the normal and regular, `natural' opinion; it is however generated by a quite particular feature of human being as it developed in the last two and a half millenniums and especially in the last three or four centuries within the cultural area that is called the Occident. Only on the ground and basis of this conception of reality could Western sciences and technology emerge, that is, the two structures that nowadays determine the face and the shape of nearly the whole earth.

Heidegger's understanding of space implicitly contains a radical problematization of that usual conception about the world. That becomes evident when we think of the way he conceives the specific spatiality and the specific worldliness of human beings, of what they encounter and to what they are related. Western philosophy has methodically isolated its objects - this and that matter, this or that notion - as if these matters and notions could be comprehended as themselves, in their meaning and significance, merely by attentively looking at their established essence.

Even if this mode of thinking connected the individual notions to each other, if it intended to conceive the whole world and therefore the unity of beings, this was nevertheless a unity of things or notions which essentially existed for and by themselves, a unity of separate propositional statements about the world. Thus thinking itself was placed outside the world, within a region bare of atmosphere, an abstract world outside the world, a space without space. Starting from within this worldless region it tried to construct a concept of the whole of beings.

Viewed with Heidegger this isolation of the so-called objective notions must miss things, because, on the one side, it does not conceive the `Bewandtniszusammenhang' (nexus of relations) which exists among them, the interaction between thinking and things, between notion and matter; and on the other side and above all, because it does not pay attention to the ontological movement and event of Being as such, that is to the `Seinsgeschehen'. Things by themselves have to tell something to thinking, and, as they always are situated within a field of relations, they tell their stories from within a given world. There is no tree and no house existing only as and by itself. Nothing that exists is `lonely'; all existing things always already occur in a place, together with or against other things, before this and behind that, earlier than one thing or event and later than another one. Each thing has always already emerged out of connections and is entering into connections. It always already - `immer schon' - appears in relations of space and time, of quality and quantity. This expression, `immer schon' - always already -, is encountered frequently in Heidegger. It means that all behaving and treating with something or someone presupposes a space or field of behaving and treating that gives place and space to them both.

To repeat it in a negative way: world, for Heidegger, is no neutral all-containing sphere of differentiated things that exist indifferently side by side and that a human being - as just some specific thing, endowed with reason - perceives by the senses and elaborates by the spirit. It is no `neutral' world that occupies some finite or infinite space (and covers a finite or infinite time). It rather is constituted by meaningfulness, and space only occurs with and within the worldliness of the world. That means on the one hand, that we always already encounter things in spatial and temporal relations and conditions within a peculiar world, and, on the other hand, that human beings always already find themselves within the given spatial relations and conditions that together constitute their world. To find oneself in spatial conditions does not mean that spatiality precedes being-in-the-world. Existing in the world, human beings rather provide space and give place - `einräumen' - to the world, living in nearer and more remote connections and relations to things that surround them in space. The spatiality of the world and the human being-in-the-world and being-in-space are, `gleichursprünglich', equally generated, or equiprimordial.

In what concerns these questions, Heidegger stands in a partly explicit, partly implicit rapport with trains of thought of philosophers such as Feuerbach, Marx, and Nietzsche, who, contradicting Hegel and some essential features of Western Thinking as a whole, from its beginnings on to German Idealism, tend to no longer conceive human being from the abstract process of recognizing, but to look at him in his concrete situations and historical circumstances. The human being is no longer a bundle of capacities of recognizing, but he is that peculiar being that always already lives in understanding relations to a world of things that are at hand, `zuhanden'.

In Heidegger this view of the concrete ontic reference of human beings to world is still more radically developed than in the philosophers of the second half of the 19th and the first decades of the 20th century, although the ontic starting point is in some way newly ontologized in his thinking. Heidegger tries to reveal the categories of being-in-the-world and of world itself as categories of the ontological event of Being and truth. And if Being itself is an occurring event, an event of unconcealing, the human being-in-the-world, which as such understands Being, has an essential spatial and temporal character of occurring and of movement.

The occurring spatiality of Dasein in "Sein und Zeit" is designated as, `Einräumen' - giving and providing or instituting space - which itself is characterized as an `Ausrichten' and, `Entfernen' - directioning and re-moting. Dasein is an almost active coming out into the openness (existere) within which beings may reveal and conceal themselves. But this moving of human beings always already corresponds to the movement of Being itself, and thus of space and time as well. Being - namely the occurrence of the fact that there is something - is a coming out and a self-revealing into the openness. Space itself gives space and provides space, leaves room, opens, releases, takes in - space spaces.


The concept that space, `spaces' (räumt), that is, that it occurs as space and, first of all, gives or provides space, can be seen as the most important Heideggerian understanding of space. Thus I want to stretch the signification and the development of this concept. During Heidegger`s process of thinking it has truly undergone various changes, but along the way it rather increased than diminished in its importance.

In "Sein und Zeit" to provide space occurs in the way that `Dasein', just in being the `Da', is spatial and thus provides space. Space is a constitutive moment of the world, which for its part is a moment of the being-in-the-world. I said that both, human beings and things, do not exist as mere neutral objects at mere places of a homogeneous space, but that both of them already always find themselves amidst meaningful relations and connections of relations. The mode of being in the space of human beings differs decidedly from that of all non-human beings in that it essentially extends and stretches itself into the space, while the things that are merely `zuhanden' and, vorhanden' in space occupy only a definite and delimited part of it, a "Raumstück", "a bit of space" (SuZ, 368). Human beings never are only at a restricted place that is de-limited out of the whole of space, but they are by extending themselves into the world and forward to the encountering things. With Heidegger's own words: "When we let entities within-the-world be encountered in the

way which is constitutive for being-in-the-world, we `give them space'" (SuZ, 111); we make room for them and for ourselves. A human being "is always `outside' alongside entities which it encounters and which belong to a world already discovered." (SuZ, 62) At the same time - by extending into the world of the encountering things and matters - a human being gives a space and room to himself, within which that encountering and his own being-situated can take place.

Later on, in "Bauen Wohnen Denken" (1951), what provides space is the place itself and the site itself, or in the conversion or even perversion of the modern scientifically determined reality: "measurable distance", "extension", "mere positions" (BWD, 156f.). But this shift from human beings to places means no real difference for Heidegger`s understanding of the relation of human beings and space. Human beings continue to provide space insofar as they are building and dwelling; the space providing occurs as an instituting and granting of places, which by themselves provide room and space.

After another step on this way, in "Die Kunst und der Raum" (1969), Heidegger designates no other space-providing subject than the space-providing process itself. To provide space is now a character of the `spacing' itself - again in the twofoldedness of granting and instituting (KR, 9) - and more exactly it occurs as granting a place. That looks as though places, that are given by space providing, were its results, while in "Bauen Wohnen Denken" they were the space providing itself. Strictly speaking however the contrary is true: space providing rises out of the "Zusammenspiel der Orte" (the interplay of places) defining itself from the "freie Weite der Welt" (the open expanse of the world). (KR, 10f.) Thus we must not be surprised that in "Zeit und Sein" Heidegger speaks of the necessity of the "insight into the origin of space in the properties peculiar to site" or place. (ZuS, 24)

Perhaps implicitly looking back to "Sein und Zeit", the "Bemerkungen zu Kunst - Plastik - Raum" at first say that the human being "is in space by giving space to space (instituting space), having always already given space to space". (KPR, 13). But then, two pages later, Heidegger adds more radically that human being guards space, which, for its part, needs him to provide space, in order to allow space itself to be spacing - "um als Raum zu räumen". Because human space-providing is needed by space for its own spacing, Heidegger can say of space itself, that it "gives space to localities and places, gives them free and releases into them" (WS, 214).


Maybe this short sketch will appear as merely formal, as a combinative play of notions, although this combination is a rather complicated one. The relevance of those concepts will become more palpable and evident when we focus our attention more precisely on the meaning of place or site, of region and of space, and when we ask, what a role human beings and things have within the interplaying - conceived as an event - of such different moments of space. Therefore I will make a new beginning and try to trace more exactly what the significance of space in Heidegger's thinking is. In doing so, it will be important not to lose sight of the indicated multiplicity in the notion of space providing, because it shows the direction, in which Heidegger's insights into space and spatiality have led.

Except for one term, we find already in "Sein und Zeit" all the concepts or moments of space that become essential for Heidegger's later reflections on space. What is missing, is a thematic treatise on the concept of place. Its emergence at a later time shows a change of the underlying perception, its proper thematization tells something about the new significance that space gains in Heidegger's further way of thinking.

A first view of the space that we experience every day reveals it as something within which we and all other things are and move; we always and primarily are somewhere. Everything has a place and is within a space. And there is always a distance or an interval between one thing and another that is a space that itself is no place, but the inbetweenness of places or for places. This space, in spite of its emptiness, is essentially experienced as being qualitatively differentiated, by above and below, ahead and behind, by nearness and distance, narrowness and openness. It has regions and limits and intervals. These differentiations of space in relation to what is in space, to the spatial, are moments of space; but at the same time space is wider than its moments, in a certain manner of speaking it encloses and exceeds them. The enclosing space is articulated into concrete regions and landscapes, in different sites and places.

All concrete things are spatial and within space. To be spatial may designate two different but related meanings: that something occupies a space, that it has a special place, and that it has a certain volume and a particular extension, such and such a size. The place itself is, in a certain space or in space in general. And at the same time it is a part of space. The place is the "Eigenraum", the proper space of the thing. Space surrounds things. Within this space we experience nearnesses and distances and interspaces or intervals between the places of different things. Heidegger reminds us in "Bemerkungen zu Kunst - Plastik - Raum" of the fact that already with the early Greeks there existed these two notions that enunciate two different sides or moments of space, namely place and space, topos and chora. In traditional thinking "place" means the delimited space that a physical body occupies and that is coextensive with the outline and also the volume of the body. `Space' in the other sense is the empty expanse or openness, within which all bodies find their place.

In "Bemerkungen zu Kunst - Plastik - Raum" Heidegger clarifies that this duplicity of place and space is a metaphysical distinction that does not conceive space as space, not on its own - in the same way as metaphysics does not take Being as Being. Space is not thought of as space, insofar as it first of all is thought of as related to bodies - as Being is only thought in relation to beings. It is Heidegger's intention to think space as space, that is, to relieve it from its immediate connection with the body and, with that, out of the straight connection with place that is only deceptively associated with body. Evidently this intention calls also for a new thematization of place.

To think space as space means to think space in its movement of being, that is, as the event of space. Taken metaphysically, space as space, space on its own, would have been the unchanging essence or nature of space, the notion of space. For Heidegger however, what matters most is, in the most radical manner that might be thought of, to take essence in a verbal way, that is, as an occurring event, a movement, and, more exactly, as a movement of arriving and coming forward, namely into the realm of human beings and for the sake of human beings. As I have already mentioned, this means, in reference to space, that space is to be thought of as space-event that is as the spacing space that gives and provides space. But the spacing space exists in reference to human beings. Thus, to think space on its own means to consider in what way human beings are in space, "zu sehen, wie der Mensch im Raum ist." (RPK, 13).

Human beings are in such a way in space that they themselves do the providing of space. In order to be spacing, space needs human beings and their space providing. Heidegger in this context speaks of a "mysterious relationship", "geheimnisvolles Verhältnis". Space is able to be what it is only in interplay with the spatial behaving or being of humans. Human being and space are not two independent entities, of which one would be prior to or, on the contrary, dependent on the other. They both refer always already to each other. Neither may be without the other, they belong together, need each other. Relating to the way in which humans belong to this interplay or intercommunication Heidegger says in "Der Satz vom Grund": "As we stand within the clearing of Being, there is something sent to us, we are those that are placed into the time-space-play. This means: We are those that are needed in this interplay and for it, in order to build and form something of the clearance of Being, to conserve it - in the wide and manifold sense of the word." (SG, 146)


We might therefore say in other words: space and human beings form together an interactive interplay that encloses both of them; they belong together into the same realm which nevertheless is not something existing `before' or outside of them. It is just this `same' which Heidegger names at several occasions the "Zeit-Spiel-Raum" - "time-space-play". The "mysterious relationship" of this `same' circulating within the interplay is not only to be said of the relatedness of human beings to space (and to time) but at the same time it designates "the rapport `of Being to' man ("Ereignis", "event of appropriation")" (KPR, 15). Attention has to be paid to the strange conversion that lies in this way of expressing this relationship. Far from being the result of an inexact thinking, this conversion is just what matters in this remark. At another place Heidegger says in reference to this "rapport of Being as rapport to the being of humans" that it rests upon thinking "that is the principal trait in the nature of human being" (Vorwort zu "Was ist das die Philosophie" auf Spanisch, S.1, 1957). In a peculiar respect the relation of Being to humans consists in the fact that humans in their thinking relate to Being. Or, to formulate it in a still shorter way: The relation of Being to humans is the relation of humans to Being, and the reverse. It is just this astonishing, reversible relation that characterizes the rapport of the being of space to humans.

Heidegger often mentions this circularity. I cite two statements from the lecture "Hölderlins Erde und Himmel". At first, viewed from the one side, we read: "Meanwhile we, the human mortal beings, are only capable of hearing, when we pre-recite something to what wants to tell itself to us." (GA 4, 156). And another quotation, that speaks from the opposite side: "The eyes only catch sight of the shining as far as they previously are already shone at and looked at by it." (ib. 161)

Space is, what it is, by spacing. Yet it spaces insofar as human beings provide space. And human beings provide space insofar as they let the space do its spacing. "The human being admits space as what gives space, gives free, and he institutes himself and the things within this free space." (KPR, 13) More exactly, this instituting is done by way of the building and founding of places, because the free character and the openness need the gathering into a site or at a place. This granting and building of places does not only occur by way of building in the strict sense. Insofar as humans inhabit the fourfold of the world, they give their particular and appropriate place and site to the things with which they are dealing within the world. Thus the place is the specific space where things have the possibility to develop their belonging to the world, which implies both their belonging to each other and their importance for human beings.

That humans institute themselves within the free space and, by providing space, give things the possibility "to belong to their `where to' and from the `where' to each other", always means a granting of places that gather human dwelling and the worldly presence of things. Maybe this is indeed the most frequent determination given by Heidegger for places: its quality of gathering. For example, he says in the beginning of the lecture on Trakl: "The place gathers into itself, supremely and in the extreme. That which is gathering penetrates and pervades everything. The place, that what gathers, brings in and conserves what is brought in, not like an encapsulating shell but rather by shining and lightening through the gathered, and it only thus releases it into its own nature." (Die Sprache, 37) The gathering is neither mere putting together nor a collecting, just as it is more than the construction of a constellation. By speaking of the gathering Heidegger denominates a calling-to-a-place, that brings things to their own, their so-to-speak hereditary place where they are able to appear as themselves and to be themselves. Thus the gathering places guide the space providing and do not come out of it as a result. You might think here at the interior peculiarities of special geographical sites and places that - without any explicit and recognized tradition on their behalves - manifest some sense of holiness over the millenniums and centuries and are all anew made a place of worship and religious rite, because they have in themselves this strange and incomprehensible quality of gathering.

Truly, the usual references of space to place, to subjectivity, to the body are to a certain degree found in Heidegger too, but in a radically transformed way. The places are by no means "in the given space like the physical-technical space. This space develops only out of the pervading of places of a region." (KR, 11) A decisive difference between the view of space in traditional thinking on the one hand and Heidegger on the other hand consists in the fact that in Heidegger there are no longer strict oppositions. The moments of space behave toward each other in constellations of an open field rather than in alternative or even dialectical configurations. This character of the openness of a field - Heidegger often speaks of `Bereich', realm, scene, dimension, area - makes especially evident, why the `Gegend', the region gains such an important significance with the later Heidegger. In the word `Gegend' the above mentioned character of coming out, of moving and occurring finds itself adequately and distinctively expressed. Heidegger hears in `Gegend' the `Gegnende', the `regioning', that is, what approaches us, encounters us. Yet not as an encountering single thing, but as the dimension or the open area, from which and out of which anything may appear and show itself, may come to find a proper place within this region.

If we really think of the region in a verbal way, then it concerns human beings by providing them a sphere, a dimension or an area, out of which things encounter and approach them. It is always this same movement shown by Heidegger in different aspects and perspectives: a coming towards us, arriving, delivering and providing itself, of the area itself as well as of the encountering things. We correspond to this coming towards us by an active letting be, a receiving and attending. Within this occurring there are no single and separate points of space, quality or materiality, but the space-event itself is something open, it has the quality of something broad, worldish, dimensional, occurring in a sphere and a clearing, that actualizes and condenses itself in the appearing things or events. Something happens to "the perceiving, viewing-listening human" (SG, 140); it does something to us, but at the same time it occurs only when we ourselves do something to it, when we agree to get involved in it, when we let it be.

The `Gegend' is named Gegend "because it gives its realm and free reign to what thinking is given to think. Thinking stays in that region in walking the ways of the region." (WS, 179) And: "Speaking allusively, the region as that which counters, is the clearing that gives free and frees, where all that is cleared, together with the self-concealing, gets into the free openness." (WS, 197) Here, as in some others of the above quoted sentences, we should pay attention to a word that often appears in Heidegger's works, but usually without being noticed because it fits so well into the context and seems more natural than it really is. The word is `freigeben', to give free or to free. The region grants, encounters and frees. It is difficult to clarify this expression without always using the same words. A street or a building site are given free. We might think of generosity, too. To give free means to open a space, to freely yield something to somebody, free from limitations, conditions, reservations. The region opens itself unreservedly to access and to a stay. It invites him who encounters it to enter freely and receives him in a hospitable way.

"It strikes me as a region, whose magic makes everything, that belongs to it, turn back to that in which it rests." (Gel, 40) With these words Heidegger tries to paraphrase "the open as such", what the enclosing openness is in itself, that is, when it is not designated and viewed from its rapport with us. (Gel, 41) To this cautious designation is added another one: "The region gathers, as though nothing were occurring, everything to everything and all together into a whiling in the reposing in itself. Regioning is the gathering re-concealing to the broad reposing within the while." I think these sentences belong to those in Heidegger's later works that seduce commentators and interpreters to estimate his mode of speaking as poetic rather than philosophical. Yet an exact interpretation might show that a precise and strictly formulated thinking is at work in these texts. Every word has its own importance. Thus the words `beruhen' - repose - and `ruhen' - rest - that occur in both citations designate a definite essential relationship in the Heideggerian language, more exactly the realm of essential being itself.

And there again Heidegger mentions the `Versammeln', the gathering. We come to remember, although here is not the place to elaborate it more precisely, that Heidegger translates logos, for him one of the crucial words of Greek philosophy, as `Versammlung', gathering. Further on he says of the "thinging" thing that it gathers, `versammelt'. He explains the word `thing' by tracing it back to the Old High German word `thing', gathering or assembly. "Appropriating the fourfold, it gathers the four fold's while into something just being there: into this or that thing." (Ding, 172)

The region gathers by way of the just mentioned inviting to its own area. It collects all things into the realm, where they have their original place, from which they stand out into the world, without losing themselves, just because they have this place to which they belong, something like a native port. Therefore Heidegger can speak of a returning and a re-concealing. The magic shining of the region presenting the things which belong to this region experiences its quiet and restful, concealed whiling. When we say that something has its place at a designated site we do not merely make the contestation that it is there, yet we want to confirm that this is the place where it realizes itself, what it is created for or where it is rooted. Truly, it may remove itself from this place, it may pass through distances and long ways off, but, nevertheless, it always brings its place with it as its `where from' and its `where to', as if it were its guiding star. And at the end it always finds rest returning to this place. Relating to human beings we speak of `being at home'.

The second of those two sentences quoted from the Gelassenheitsgespräch and concerning region talks as well about the breadth, more exactly about the broad reposing, "the breadth of reposing" (42) as about the while. In his later works Heidegger usually designates space by speaking of the breadth and time in terms of the while. The region whiles into the breadth and broadens into the while. It `zeitigt' (`times') and `räumt' (`spaces'), it is `Zeit-Spiel-Raum' (`time-space-play').

"Thus the region is as much the breadth as the while." (Gel, 42) When space is really taken as space, in its spacing, then it leads into a dimension within which space and time, breadth and while are interwoven. (Thus we have to notice that `dwelling', the mode in which we live the human stay upon the earth, truly has a primordial rapport to space, but as a whiling it has an important rapport to time as well.)

With common words, and viewing those things that are around us in the world, we might say: the things we have to do with, at least when we succeed in getting involved in their nearness and remoteness, concern us always in such a way that by contacting them we enter a spatial and temporal world of familiarity - or also of its contrary. It is not easy to say what is exactly meant by space and time, by spatiality and temporality. They surely may no longer be conceived in the sense of the traditional determinations that measure and quantify, limit and delimit; nor in the sense of the "hardly superable measuring adaptation to thing-space and process-time." (Beiträge, 382). To speak about the spatiality and temporality of the encountering things, of those things that concern us out of a region, does not refer to the fact that all things are somewhere and sometime. (We even might ask whether the notion of being sometimes means already a certain `localisation' of time.) The interflowing of space and time, in which they both guard their own being and bring their own being together, will become more clear and explicit in the third part of these reflections.


2. Space, Work of Art, Thing

Space and art - that means (in our context) at the same time: space and human being. For art is something human, although it is far from being something `merely subjective'. It is a human manner to form a human thing out of the sensible nature. It brings things into the world that are there like other natural things but are not by nature, and that is, not out of and by themselves. Thus the spacing and instituting character of the being of humans gets a new relevance when we speak about producing rather than about caring, being easy on things, dwelling. The produced work of art distinguishes itself, compared with the other produced things, by being there particularly as and by itself; although it is made or produced it leaves this being made behind. In the work of art the contribution of humans to the process or occurrence of Being seems to become particularly evident to Heidegger, despite the fact that the making of the artist only realizes and carries out in a special and explicit way what the human `staying with things' fulfills always and as such.

In philosophical reflection at the close of the 20th century the particular things that are works of art often play the role of representatives of things in general, in Adorno and Benjamin, but in Heidegger as well. Reflection on art does not merely refer to a certain field of objects among others, but in works of art and in the production of things of art we come to see the not-alienated and not-perverted contact of humans with nature. Because in modern times things have become objects, articles of trade and of stock-taking, products, that is, something technical, so that they have fallen out of the world and out of the worldly space, we have an evident need of something other, which should allow us to conceive and to treat the true and reconciled relationship between humans and nature.

Within a space conceived of as "that homogeneous expanse, not distinguished at any of its possible places, equivalent toward each direction, but not perceptible with the senses" (K.u.R., 6), as modern science and technology do and must presuppose, within this space there is no place for things which `institute' their space, radiate into it and open a free space around themselves. In our time, that is determined by technology and science, both space and time have become mere parameters of measuring and calculating: "To the calculating mind space and time appear as parameters for the measurement of nearness and remoteness, and these in turn as static distances." (WS, 209) The spatial and the temporal therefore reduce themselves to merely `objective' entities that, to be sure, occupy determinate positions and change them in a determinate way, but those positions are principally uniform and not capable of being something of their own, that differentiates them qualitatively from other things.

Works of art however require and found - insofar as they are works of art - a rapport to the world that is peculiar to each of them, a peculiar `time-space-play'. Their individuality und their incomparability - far from meaning isolation and seclusion - seem to belong to their character of being works of art. Their peculiarity opens a special space within which they develop, but which is also permeated by the paths and the networks of their relations to others, to experiencing humans and to experienced things. A thinking which wishes to ask about the peculiarity of space, of places and of regions may therefore in a special way rely on works of art. In respect to usual and ordinary matters and facts that are abandoned and subjected to the objectifying contact, works of art appear as something extraordinary and to a certain extent strange and astonishing. Something like a particular rapport to the world seems to have retreated into the artistic things as its last bastion. You might however ask yourself - but that is not our concern here - if this particular position doesn't take away from them the air to breathe and the circumference within which they are able to show up and to move in a `natural way', that is, if they really still preserve the capacity to open a world.

When works of art are, in the just mentioned way, considered as representatives of things in general, then this implies that, strictly speaking, no essential difference exists between both of them, their difference is only that of a historical mode of appearing; otherwise the one would not be able to stand in for the other. Heidegger says in "Bauen Wohnen Denken": "staying with things is the only way in which the fourfold stay within the fourfold is accomplished at any time in simple unity. Dwelling preserves the fourfold by bringing the presencing of the fourfold into things." (Ding, 151) Those sentences seemingly do not differ from Heidegger's insight, that "art is the bringing-into-the-work of truth".

(KR, 8) In a special way what Heidegger says about the space, which no longer is parametrically perceived but thought of as providing space, is spoken out of a human rapport, for which there exists no distinctly traced borderline between works of art and things - "when they themselves as things are let be in their presencing". (BWD, 152) If it is correct, "that things themselves are the places and do not only belong to places", then what is said in "Die Kunst und der Raum" of a sculpture, that it is an "actualization of places", is true not only of the plastic arts but of things in general.

Equally the interpretation of Hölderlin's word "... Poetically Man Dwells ..." not only speaks of the poet, but as well of mortals in general - and we here might say as well: when they themselves as mortals are let be in their presencing. What Heidegger says about the dwelling stay of humans with things and about the reference of this dwelling to space and to places seems to be especially, but not exclusively true of the rapport that art, first of all poetry (and, in an another way, thinking) maintain to the world. But it is not only true of those. Neither in "Das Ding" nor in "Bauen Wohnen Denken" Heideggers talks about works of art, his examples are the jug and the bridge. The assumption is not too daring that the unambiguous difference of work of art and thing, which belongs to a determined historical period, might become invalid, - on the one hand because of Heidegger's designation of art as "bringing truth into the work" and on the other hand because of his special way of understanding the things and the dwelling.

I now would like to turn to the significance of the notion of dwelling and then add a short discussion of journeying or wandering as a complementary notion to dwelling. In doing so I shall inexplicitly treat the significance of space for art and of art for space. Dwelling is a poetical dwelling, and it is a dwelling within which the coming into the world of truth occurs. I explicitly turn toward art in the next section when I shall try to show the significance of the work of art for the human stay upon the earth and with things by looking at what Heidegger says of sculpture and of the fine arts. I shall further ask in what way works of art differ from things in general in so far as things gather the fourfold of the world.


First I have to remember that space does not become an inhabited site only by the fact that human beings settle in it, delimit it into regions, identify places. Truly, when Heidegger listens to the German word `Raum' - space - he himself seems to refer primarily to a human activity when he denotes the meanings of `space' as clearing and freeing the wilderness. Nevertheless he also removes this `activity' from man, precisely in order to think it in the direction toward man. "Spacing brings forth the free, the openness for man's settling and dwelling." And "Spacing brings forth the locality that gives and provides a dwelling. ... In spacing an occurring at once speaks and conceals itself." (KR, 9) This spacing is the real being - or presencing - of space itself. But it occurs - and so does space itself - by way of human beings' dwelling, and, still before, by their instituting places for dwelling. Therefore it is true, indeed, that space becomes an inhabited place by human beings; but that is not something that only happens to it; on the contrary, it is precisely and solely in this way that space is space. The dwelling of humans is - we might say - a mode of space itself.

The later Heidegger repeatedly says that human beings are humans insofar as they are dwelling. In Heidegger the designation of humans as dwelling probably encounters us more frequently than their designation as mortals or as speaking beings. But this notion - dwelling - does not attract attention, it seemingly has no great importance. The reason might be that the notion of dwelling has no metaphysical history behind it; that human beings dwell seems to be an obvious fact of their daily life and being, which has no higher mental and metaphysical meaning or dignity. And secondly, when it is now brought into the center of reflection a certain unobtrusiveness and normality belongs to dwelling. This unobtrusiveness of the determination of dwelling - not accidentally - is related to the usual `ist' - is -, it seems to take the place of the `is'. When they really are in the world as humans and that is as mortals, then to say that human beings are means nothing else than that they inhabit the world. Thus Heidegger says in "Bauen Wohnen Denken" in looking back to the "old word bauen (build), to which the bin (am) belongs": " the manner in which we humans are on the earth, is the buan, the dwelling. To be a human being means to be on the earth as a mortal. It means to dwell." (BWD, 147)

To dwell means to be on earth. Yet humans dwell upon the earth in the way of dwelling within a certain space, in a region, at a place. On his path of thinking Heidegger conceives - as I mentioned in the beginning - that the human stay on earth less and less as an "historical stay amongst beings" (cf. Ister, 101), in order to think it more and more clearly as a "stay with things and places" (cf. BWD, 158). This shows the increasing importance of space within his thought. "The relationship between man and space is none other than dwelling strictly conceived." (ib.)

However, it already belongs to the being-in-the-world of "Sein und Zeit" that human beings inhabit the space of this world with all its things, because they do not merely exist within the world, but behave `ausrichtend' and `entfernend' - directioning and re-moting -, that is: giving space to the things around them. But at this time `world' for Heidegger is not yet the concrete fourfold of sky and earth, mortals and immortals, and, as the being of humans is not yet the being of mortals within the fourfold world, it is not yet conceived as a belonging to and a being at home in this worldly space, the `house of the world'. Humans are rather and first of all thought of as being active in the way of projecting and giving space; "the being-in-the-world which is constitutive for Dasein" (SZ, 111) already discloses the space within which encountering things have their place. Heidegger, above all, pays attention to the fact that "all `wheres' are discovered and circumspectively interpreted as we go our ways in everyday dealings, that they are not ascertained and catalogued by the observational measurement of space." (SZ, 103) The meaning of this fact for the being of humans itself and, first of all, the question in what way the human being has to insert himself into space and how his regions must be given to him, so that he might be able to discover in a circumspective way and give their places to things only later comes into view. Here lies a decisive moment of what is named the Heideggerian `Kehre' - Heidegger's `turn'.

There is still another important moment of Heidegger's later thinking that in a special way concerns the designation of dwelling, which has already been mentioned above. It consists in the decisive step that daringly leads thinking out of its over two-thousand-years-old abstraction and generality, entering into the concreteness of the area between earth and sky - in other words: into the dwelling of human beings upon this earth. What Heidegger designates in "Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes" as earth and world - `world' comprising what afterwards appears partly as sky, partly as the dimension of the divinities -, is still meant in the sense of mental and conceptual entities, and in some respect is still related to metaphysical concepts. Earth and world here do not yet have the concrete importance that they gain afterwards, partly at least on the way of an intensive encounter with Hölderlin. The `among beings' has not yet become the concrete fourfold of sky and earth, mortals and divinities, although it may be admitted that the view of `the human historical stay among beings' that emerged in the discourse with Hölderlin - although being still rather temporal, perhaps even rather conceptual - might represent in the whole of Heidegger's thinking a certain transition toward the spacing and placing of humans within the world between earth and sky.

While space becomes an inhabited place it gains a familiarity to humans having its own particular involvements and habits. As space is inhabited it differentiates itself in what is nearer and what is more remote, what is common and what is someone's own, what is necessary and what is accidental, etc. Those qualifications of space denote that things get their own places within space, particular ways of behaving and performing and particular times emerge, which gain their own habitudes and practices. Even the un-habitual, the unusual and the strange, the dismaying and the uncanny gets its place within the inhabited space, although that place might be an unfamiliar one.


The linguistic - and not merely linguistic - connection between to inhabit, habitation, on the one hand and habitude, habitual, on the other hand could lead to the assumption that the inhabiting, dwelling way of life would indicate a static being of humans designated by comfort rather than by mobility or agility. That this assumption is not correct is shown by the fact, among others that Heidegger very often adds journeying, wandering or migrating to dwelling. Thus the interpretation of Hölderlin's hymn "Der Ister" treats in detail with the belonging together of dwelling and locality on the one hand and wandering or journeying on the other. (Ister, 46ff.) Yet most explicitly he designates the mutual connection of dwelling and wandering when, in the little lecture entitled "Hebel - Der Hausfreund", he speaks of the manifold in-betweenness within which humans stay and move, as of the world itself, understanding world as "the house inhabited by the mortals." "If we think the verb `to dwell' thoroughly and in its essential meaning, it designates the way humans accomplish their wandering upon the earth and under the sky from birth to death. This journeying is multiform and rich in changes. Everywhere, however, wandering remains the main trait of dwelling as of the human stay between earth and sky, between birth and death, between joy and woe, between work and word." (Hebel, 17f.)

This at first amazing, narrow juxtaposition of dwelling and journeying - dwelling as the mode of journeying and journeying as the main trait of dwelling - emphasizes anew the earlier mentioned belonging together of space and time. "Locality and journeying belong together as `space and time.'" (Ister, 46) "Space and time" are put in quotation marks because Heidegger at the same time notes the historical necessity of a "radical breaking of space and time" which he designates in the "Beiträge". (373) But in this breaking too he is concerned with a "unity of the originary timing and spacing", the time-space. (ib. 384) The breadth of the space of journeying through time and the whiling of dwelling in space make it impossible to detach space from time and to attach them to two neatly divisible sides; "it might be," Heidegger says, "that the essential origin of space and time lies concealed in what we are attempting to think in a unitary manner in the names of locality and journeying." (Ister, 58)

By the way, I think it is necessary that we pay attention to the fact that dwelling and journeying not only correspond to space and time respectively - as cautiously as that correspondence has to be taken -, but that at the same time both of them are corresponding ways of staying in space. Journeying itself goes from one place to another place, its paths, especially the paths of wandering thoughts, still more than dwelling open the differences of regions and landscapes. It might be that for journeying things play a less important role than for dwelling, and maybe the gathering of the fourfold of the world into a unity can be better clarified in dwelling than in wandering. But it might be too that the gathering of the world in the case of wandering is only a different one and has not been elaborated by Heidegger. In any case, I think that Heidegger's insight in the lecture on Hebel, that dwelling and journeying mutually imply each other, has to be understood very seriously if we really want to understand space and time.


Let us return now to the inhabiting "stay with things and places". Heidegger says that dwelling has to refer to present things, the appearance of which is instituted and granted. (cf. KR, 9) Things are instituted by way of giving places to them. Thus things and places cannot be strictly separated from each other, especially when they are things that "grant a site". (cf. BWD, 154) The site has its place within a region in which places relate to each other, play with each other, and constitute localities.

As an example of things that grant a site and thereby institute a world Heidegger in "Bauen Wohnen Denken" designates the bridge.

But art too is an excellent way of such an instituting,. The work of art too gives place to space. We saw that Heidegger makes similar remarks about the sculpture as about the bridge. The work of art too gathers the openness, and that means the truth, into a sensible presence. What does this mean that openness itself is brought into a work, a visible structure, a thing of art?

In "Die Kunst und der Raum" he - only implicitly - remembers in an unusually brief way his own remarks about art, written in a former treatise, namely in "Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes": "When we take it for granted that art is the bringing-into-the-work of truth, and truth means the unconcealment of Being, then must not the true and genuine space, that, which unconceals its peculiarity itself, become decisive in the work of fine art?" (KR, 8) The close connection of art and space appears as a deduction from Heidegger's earlier understanding of art, but it is a further proceeding rather than a deduction. That space gets an important role within the play of art shows that the perspective has moved a little. At the time of "Vom Ursprung des Kunstwerkes" truth was conceived in a lightly different way than afterwards, thus it was closer to the concept of history. More than in Heidegger's later thinking it has a character of something being by itself and on its own, in a certain sense "prior" to things; Heidegger speaks of a "positing-itself-into-the-work": "Art is the positing-itself-into-the-work of truth." (UK, 28) "The openness of the open, that is truth, is only able to be what it is, namely this openness, when and as long as it arranges itself in the open. Therefore within this open there always has to be a being, in which the openness gains its standing position and its steadiness." (UK, 49)

I think that within the realm of "Das Ding" or of "Bauen Wohnen Denken" Heidegger would not have said that a thing has to be, in order to let the world or the appropriation gain its standing position, or arrange itself. In Heidegger's implicitly recalling the essay on the work of art there is another striking moment, namely that he has passed from `positing' truth to `bringing' truth: `the-bringing-into-the-work'. While `positing' reminds us of the objectifying, representing subject, `bringing' is so to say more friendly, it leads and accompanies that which is brought into its place. That to and into which truth is brought has a particular meaning of its own, when truth is brought rather than when it is posited in it.

Words related to to encountered in Heidegger's writings, in related contexts, include to grant, to give and to free, to reach over and to pass by hand, to ground, to let be and to provide. Yet to let be present and to unconceal (ZS, 5) also show the same gesture. This gesture designates on the one hand and above all the occurring of Being which is the rapport from Being to the human being - the rapport as an active relating in the sense of a reaching itself over and a granting itself. It means too, on the other hand, that which is, perceived from the side of that to which truth is given, brought, granted - the being needed of humans, which is their receiving and corresponding rapport to Being and thus to space (and time) as well. Heidegger thinks this gesture as the "nearing nearness" (ib.16).

The connection between the conception of truth as something that brings itself or is brought into a thing and Heidegger's reflections on space and on the spacing and bringing into a place is evident. In "Die Kunst und der Raum" this connection is explicitly developed. Finally, after having discussed `true space', space as space, he arrives at the following remarks: "Sculpture: a corporealizing bringing-into-the-work of places und along with them an opening of regions for a possible dwelling of humans, of regions for a possible whiling of the things that surround and concern them. / Sculpture: the corporealization of the truth of Being in its work that founds places." (KR, 13)

The truth or the openness, the unconcealedness of Being - with Heidegger we might as well say the time-space-play - finds its appearance in a certain being, which by this way comes to be a work of art. This work, for its part, opens for the open to let it be seen, to bestow it. To bring openness - or truth - into the world, that is to bring it into the work of art, means "rather to receive and to take from within the rapport to unconcealedness." (KR, 51) Truth is not impressed on the work of art, it is not forced upon it. Instead, we here again encounter the figure of a rapport whose sides respectively imply each other, a figure which we also perceived in the relationship between the spacing space and the instituting place: the open gives itself into the work, by the way of the work's opening itself for the open, giving it space and room, - in-corporating truth in itself, as we shall see in what follows. Opening to this occurrence, the work of art hands over a place to the unconcealing itself, Being itself, the occurrence of which is the occurrence of the work itself: "The more essentially the work of art opens itself, the more shining becomes the uniqueness of the fact that it is and not rather is not." (KR, 53f.)

Later on, in "Bemerkungen zu Kunst, Plastik, Raum" it is no longer truth but rather places that are brought and grounded into a work. I quote once more the decisive sentence: "Sculpture: a corporealizing bringing-into-the-work of places und along with them an opening of regions for a possible dwelling of humans, of regions for a possible whiling of the things that surround and concern them." (KPR, 11) Yet this work is still, and once again, thought of as a corporealization of truth: "Sculpture: the corporealization of the truth of Being in its work that founds places." (KPR, 13)

Thus, after all, both must be the same or at least must be connected very closely to each other: the corporealization of truth in the work of art and the corporealization of place and places in the work. When places are brought into the work, truth is brought to and into something corporeal, into a sensitive figure, a sensitive image or structure. "The artist brings the essentially invisible into the visible structure and, when corresponding to the nature of art, lets us catch sight of something that hitherto has never be seen." (KPL, 14) Truth, the unconcealedness of Being, is not visible as such, it only gains its visibility when it is brought into an image, when a corporeality is given to it.

Yet this invisible is no "entity on the other side", no pure essence, as we learn in the following explanation: "When the artist models a head, he only seems to reproduce or rebuild the visible surface; but in reality he builds the true invisible, the way in which this head views into the world, in which it stays in the open of space, within which it is referred to and affected by humans and things." (ib.) Thus what I quoted about the invisible does not mean that a somehow essential being, an incorporeal entity or some "higher truth" were brought to a sensitive appearance - just as Hegel in his "Lectures on Ästhetics" conceives the "beautiful" as the "sensible shining and appearing of the idea" (Glockner, Bd.12, 160). What is built and gets into the work is a thing to which is given a space and a place, or, more exactly, the way in which a thing "stays in the openness of space, within which it is referred to and affected by humans and things." (KPR, 14) With the building and the instituting of the way in which a thing stays in the openness of space the same meaning is enounced as when Heidegger - a little more in detail - speaks of "the corporealization of places", "that, by opening and conserving a region, gathers together something free, that grants a whiling to the particular things and a dwelling to the humans among the things." (KR, 11) The granting of the free gives their whiling to things, and to human beings it gives their dwelling with each other and with things. It does so by incorporating the granting itself into a particular thing, into a work of art.

Heidegger delivers his lecture on art, sculpture and space on the occasion of an exposition of the art of Bernd Heiliger. As an example for a work of art he therefore chooses the sculpture of a head. I quote once again: "When the artist models a head, he only seems to reproduce or rebuild the visible surface; but in reality he builds the true invisible, the way in which this head views into the world, in which it stays in the open of space, within which it is referred to and affected by humans and things." (KPR, 14) "The way in which this head views into the world.". I think, that is the decisive remark here. By bringing truth or unconcealedness into a work it shows the way in which humans and things stay and while in the world.

A certain difficulty for an exact understanding results from the fact that Heidegger on the one hand comes to speak of the work of art, the modeled head, the modeled "body phenomenon" (ib.), but that, on the other hand, he does so in the context of a reflection on the question in what way "a human being is in space" - a human being "which `bodies' - leibt - and by this way is embodied in the openness of space" (KPR, 13).That humans embody the openness should be thought together with the consideration from "Bauen Wohnen Denken" that it is an essential trait of human's being "that in itself thinking gets through, persists through, the distance to that place." (BWD, 157)

Thus that difficulty consists in the twofold fact that Heidegger wants to say that humans are in the world by the way of staying in the space of the world as a living body and that he shows this fact by the example of a head, that is something belonging to this body. The human being as such "stays in the openness, within which it is referred to and affected by humans and things." Being this living, corporeal body he brings the openness into a place within the space by embodying and incorporating it in a thing, in a work of art.

But when Heidegger chooses the example of a head, that is of something bodily, something corporeal viewing into the world, he mixes two different moments, namely the bodily being-within-the-world of the work of art and of the head which is modeled in this work of art. The modeled head, strictly speaking, is not this stay, but builds and institutes the way of this stay, of this viewing into the world - surely not by being a head, but by being a work of art. Thus Heidegger says of Greek works of art, too, that "they spoke, that is, they showed, where humans belong, they made us become aware, where humans get their destination." (BWK, 5) Where humans get their destination, their way of being, of dwelling in the open space, is nothing other than what Heidegger names the "unconcealedness of Being". The unconcealedness, "Being as that, what - by granting and lightening itself - institutes the time-space-play for what appears in this or that way" (SG, 129f.), is brought into the sensible structure by the work of space. Relating to Cézanne, Heidegger says in a poetical way: "In the late work of the painter the twofold / Of the present and of presence has become / Onefold, both, `realized' and got over, / Changed into mysterious identity." (GA 13, 223)


Works of art are things. Before I try to approach the particularity of the art-things, we must have a further look at the relationship of thing and place or space. Let us therefore view the bridge. Like the few other examples carried out in Heidegger's thinking - like the jug and the house, which equally are called in for a discussion of the fourfoldness of the dimensions of the world - this example seems to be chosen with much care. Among other aspects, it evidently is a construction and therefore fits best for the theme of the conference, on the occasion of which it was presented. Furthermore, I think, it might have been of a certain significance for Heidegger, too, that a bridge is a construction that is related to rivers or streams. In his lectures on the Hymnen-Dichtung of Hölderlin, where Heidegger is concerned with `remarks' about the hymn "Der Ister", he understands this stream as a place of dwelling and of journeying (certainly for the "historical human being", ib. 39). "The stream `is' the locality that pervades the staying of human beings upon the earth, destines them to where they belong and where they feel at home." (Ister, 23) And: "The stream does not merely grant the place ... The stream itself holds the place. The stream itself dwells." (Ister, 42)

But also apart from this particular interpretation of Hölderlin's hymn, rivers and streams in general have a rapport to dwelling. Most big towns are built near streams. Humans dwell near the streams that pervade their country and make it fertile and connect it to other places and regions. The bridges make it possible that rivers are not borderlines and obstacles, being places that give space, they instead gather "earth as landscape around the stream". (BWD, 152)

I think it is notable that Heidegger never offers natural things as examples for things' gathering of the fourfold of the world, - although in his well-known enumeration of true things at the end of "Das Ding" stream and mountain, horse and bull are included. (cf. 181) Jug, bridge and house are something that is produced by humans, and that in different ways belongs to human dwelling. Whatever in any way has its place within the world is somehow located within the space of human dwelling. For their dwelling, for its manifold needs and interests humans produce things with which they stay, while they dwell in them, with them, by them. They arrange their dwelling by things which they use, require, enjoy, which bring them together and maybe also separate them.

To dwell does not merely mean to inhabit houses, villages or towns, but also, in a broader sense, to be at home upon the earth, in `the house of the world'. To this dwelling belong the streets and the bridges, which lead our going from one site to another, like corridors and staircases do in houses. These things that accompany open space in a special way, because they bring and maintain its places and localities into contact and communication with each other. The bridge institutes the space, while it arranges from itself and to itself not only certain human occupations but also the whole inhabited landscape, the space to stand in and to pass through.

As he does on the occasion of the work of art, Heidegger encounters the problem of the "relationship of humans and space" also in connection with the reflection about the bridge as an example for a thing that has been built. (BWD, 155, 157) In this context the "stay in the fourfold with things" implicitly gets the meaning of a human rapport to space. To stay with things does not only mean to be in immediate spatial nearness to them, but also, for example, to think of them. As well as the being-with-them this thinking of the things is a spatial one, pervading and getting through space. Thus "it belongs to the nature of our thinking of that bridge that in itself thinking gets through, persists through, the distance to that place." (BWD, 157) Accordingly Heidegger says in the "Gelassenheits-Gespräch", thinking is "to come into nearness to the remote". (Gel, 45) The space of nearness and remoteness is the openness within which - as we already learned - things may concern us, come up against us, encounter us.

I want to make a short and tangential remark here. I have the impression that Heidegger sometimes - though not always - avoids designating this `space' as space, because there is a great danger of misunderstanding. When he says - as quoted above - that in order to think "the relationship of space to `Ereignis' (appropriation)" we have to "gain prior insight into the origin of space in the properties particular to place" (ZS, 24), he could have said just as well - as he did in the "Bemerkungen", where places are hardly mentioned - that it is necessary to pay attention to what is most particular to space, to the spacing of space as such. Space is intended in this meaning when Heidegger says in "Das Wesen der Sprache", that it "gives room to localities and places, gives them free and releases into them". (WS, 214) In "Bauen Wohnen Denken" this space as such sometimes is indicated by the difference of space (singular) to the spaces (plural). For example: "When we are attentive to these relations between place and spaces, between spaces and space then we gain a starting point for thinking about the relationship of humans and space." (BWD, 157) We have to maintain this open, liberating handling of the word `space' - a manner of using words and notions that is very typical in Heidegger - if we want to understand the meanings of expressions such as `time-space-play' which have been introduced here only furtively.

We return to the bridge. "The bridge gathers around in its own manner earth and sky, the divinities and the mortals." (BWD, 153) It is stressed that it is its own manner, because, truly, the bridge gathers insofar as it is a thing and all things have the character of gathering, but it gathers in its own manner because it is a special thing, a thing that "grants a site", a thing that is a place (BWD, 154f.) In "Die Kunst und der Raum", 15 years later, Heidegger says more comprehensively "that things themselves are the places and not only belong to places." (KR, 11) I shall not extend this problem here, otherwise the already difficult matter would become still more complicated. In any case, we have to notice that already in "Bauen Wohnen Denken" Heidegger emphasizes that the bridge "itself is a place". By being a bridge it itself provides and generates a place.

That the bridge is not only at a place but is a place, and that it is this place by gathering the fourfold of the world, makes evident that its nature - as well as the nature of place - extends beyond itself or further than itself in an analogous, yet not identical way as humans do, although of course not identical to this. That the bridge grants a site to the fourfold, also means that it is no isolated object that exists only in and for itself; it instead `whiles' in the world that it opens at the same time. It grants a "space into which earth and heaven, divinities and mortals are admitted." (BWD, 155) They are let in as they are invited and admitted; the bridge has the - at a first view astonishing - `power' to allow the worlding of the whole world. "That for which room is made is always granted and hence is joined, that is, gathered, by virtue of a location, that is, by such a thing as the bridge." (ib.) Once again it becomes evident how great, in Heidegger's thinking, is the importance of occurring of the world, in the meaning of the moving in and the arriving of the world into the here and now of the being together of things, and of the human stay with things. Yet at the same time it becomes evident, too, that this human stay with things itself primarily `empowers' them to provide space; the bridge is only a bridge when humans are passing over it, when they look at it, think of it, draw a picture or write a poem on it.

The work of art too - for example the painted bridge - as well as the real bridge in the countryside grants places: the work of art - while it corporealizes them as such places and thereby lets us see the mode or manner, in which they open and preserve the region for the whiling of things and for the dwelling of humans (cf. KR, 11); the bridge-thing - while it allows the mutual occurring of region and place, of world and things to be itself. The difference between them consists, among others, in the explicitness or, in other words, in the development or articulation of the occurring itself. World is world when humans in their staying with things bring - by habiting and preserving - earth and heaven, divinities and mortals into their place. Works of art are excellent, special things that let us view this world-occurring as such, while they give a place to it by and in themselves. Thus we could perhaps say that works of art are places for the very places. It is this fact that Heidegger expresses by nominating the works of art the corporealizations of places. I remind you of a sentence from the "Bemerkungen" that I quoted earlier: "Sculpture would be the corporealization of places, that - in opening and preserving a region - gather around them something free which grants a whiling to the particular things and a dwelling to the human beings in the midst of things." (KR, 11) I think that the bridge, too, belongs to those places of which it is said that they are corporealized by sculptures. Hence it seems to become impossible to say strictly that (only) the works of art, here the sculptures, are a bringing-into-the-work of the truth of Being in the sense of an original letting-be. They rather are the corporealization, the bringing-into-an-image, of something already brought to space by things.

"Even a cautious insight into the special character of this art [that is sculpture] makes us assume, that truth, as unconcealedness of Being, is not necessarily bound to corporealization." (KR, 13). With these words Heidegger probably wants to point out other modes of art, especially poetry. But in fact and according to his own elucidations of the gathering of things these words also - and with at least the same justification - designate things in general. The "corporealizing bringing-into-the-work of places" (ib.) in and with these places opens the regions for a dwelling; but the places that are brought into works need - in order to be these places - the gathering nature of things.

When we thus speak of a difference in explicitness between things and works of art we may add still another remark. Truly, works of art are able to let us view the very bringing into space, but they cannot say what this letting view is as such. "Art as such is no possible object of the artist's figuring." (KPR, 7) To do so is instead the distinctive capacity of the one who thinks as well as of that thinking poetry which Heidegger nominates the "naming" and which, for him, designates the peculiarity of Hölderlin's "poetical thinking". ("`Naming' means: to call to its essence that which is named in the word of poetizing, and to ground this essence as poetic word." (Ister, 24))


3. Space, Language, Work of Language

From what I hitherto said it should be evident that in Heidegger place, region and space are not only meant in the immediate sense of the concrete `outer' space. When, for example, Heidegger speaks of the `locality of the essence of humans' into which `the step back' returns, he does not think of an area of concrete spatiality: "The whiling return to where we already are, is infinitely harder than are the hasty movings to places where we are not yet and never will be, except perhaps as technical monsters that are adapted to the machines." (WS, 190) The spatial is to be taken in so broad a sense that its main traits are found even where there is no space in a narrower sense.

This also means that the human stay in space, the dwelling, is not merely a sensitive, corporeal stay in the more restricted sense. On the contrary, dwelling itself and the respective space are what they are in reference to human dwelling upon the earth und under the sky in a broader sense. Space in a broader sense may be thought of as the space of language. I approach the meaning of this space of language beginning not with language itself but with Heidegger's language, with Heidegger's mode of speaking.

Heidegger's speaking of space itself has a character of space. We might even say that Heidegger's own speaking, not only his speaking of space, often seems to be difficult because it moves to a rather unusual degree through spatial and concrete-sensitive images and relations. What we designate here as images, according to Heidegger's intention, has to be taken literally, which means that words have to be understood in their concrete and sensitive speaking within the framework of the language-building, of the house of language.

This `sensitive' or `sensuous' or `sensible' character does not only apply to words, expressions and images that belong to space and the spatial but also to Heidegger's language in general. As in a landscape - and a landscape is a concrete space - or in experiencing a landscape, its different aspects always appear in a different way, according to the respective perspectives and situations which it displays from every particular viewpoint. A different questioning, a different intention, a different demand renders the speaking a different sound, because they always change the direction of the way and thus open a different, particular view.

A landscape in the just implied sense of a particular area of questioning, within which space and spatiality have their importance, is also the space of language, language now not only taken as Heidegger's own language and speaking but as a privileged theme of his thinking and speaking. In the context of his treatise on Stefan George's poem "The Word" Heidegger says: "The word, the language belongs into the realm of this mysterious landscape, where the poetical saying borders on the fateful source of language." (US, 171) That is said in respect to George's poem, but I think it can as well be appropriated to Heidegger himself.

Language, as Heidegger understands it, in a certain sense is a space. Words and images that belong to space are in a very close way interwoven into the area of language. `Way' and `leap', `build' and `giving-a-stay' - expressions that in Heidegger refer not only to thinking but to language as well - cannot be thought of without a recourse to space. Conversely, place and region and nearness and facing-each-other are related to language, too. And this is not merely a transposition from space-relations to something in itself unspatial, that is, to language-relations, but it bears witness of a very close and original nearness and interconnection between space and language.

Heidegger would not understand this extending of the speaking of space to the space of speaking as a metaphorical way of speaking or `figurative talk'. (WS, 187) We instead might say that for Heidegger the realm of language comprises the realm of concrete space. The spacing space in fact is more than the concrete space, the latter is, so to say, one side or one way of appearing of the former. For as I tried to show, space is a spatial occurring, and spatial occurring is one way of the occurring of Being itself, more strictly, of the fact, that Being itself - as occurring - is spacing; Being concerns and affects human beings - among other ways - in the way of the spacing, encountering, place-giving space. This affecting concern, which Heidegger designates also as approaching and nearness, is in itself an occurring of language.

In order to understand these relations we should return once more to the relation of humans or of thinking to region. If humans distinguish themselves from other beings by thinking and if thinking is the rapport of Being to humans, then human thinking always already moves within a region, out of which and in which the encountering addresses and concerns it. Within the realm of thinking, there is - in contrast to scientific representation - "neither the method nor the theme, but the `Gegend' (region) which has its name from the `Gegnen', encountering, giving free of what there is to be thought. Thinking dwells in the region in going the ways and paths of the region. We already go within the region, within the realm which concerns us." Some sentences further on Heidegger says, that when "we are attentive to the particular feature of the path of thinking, that is, when we look around in the region, within which thinking dwells", then we may remark, that this region "is everywhere open into the neighborhood to poetizing", a fact, that shows a special nearness of thinking to language and of language to thinking. (US, 178f.) Thinking and poetizing are ways of speaking and saying, they both dwell in a nearness or neighborhood, which is the realm of the essence of language.

When thinking moves within the region that concerns it, then it moves within the region of the neighborhood of poetizing and thinking, Heidegger says. "The neighborhood in question pervades everywhere our stay on this earth and our journey on it." (WS, 189) Because poetizing belongs - like thinking - into the region of what encounters and concerns us, it equally has a particular relation to space, it is a "poetic dwelling", which as such is concerned with places and spaces.

Heidegger points out "that this, the dwelling, rests in that, the poetical" (BWD, 188); "the poetizing is what first of all lets dwelling be a dwelling". Yet in letting dwell it is a building. The poetizing is a letting dwell and a building, because its space is language, - language is called the "house of Being" and the "home of the human being". (Humanismus, 191) Heidegger calls language "the most gentle, but also the most vulnerable, all-retaining oscillation in the suspending building of the `Ereignis' (appropriation)", while the `Ereignis'- Heidegger`s untranslatable word für the occurring and mutual interrelation of Being and humans - appears as the "realm, which oscillates in itself". (SI, 30) Thus, fundamentally speaking, space, possibly better the time-space-play, is none other than language.

Hence he, who thinks, is essentially "on the way to language", as he has to let himself be brought "on to the place of his being" and to get his stay in the speaking of language. In being on the way to language, he tries "to get to where he already is". (Sprache, 12) The difficulty and the trouble of this way or path are not measured by the length of the covered distance, but by the intensity of readiness and listening. His movement is a releasing into a leaping, which doesn't leap towards a determinate place, but succeeds in letting himself go into the suspending composure of that structure, which oscillates in itself. Or, once more with Heidegger: to set off on the way to language means, "to get into the speaking of language so that it occurs as what grants the stay to the essence of the mortals." (Gespräch, 149)

We might formulate this belonging together of space and language in the opposite way too: Speaking itself, language, is a space, the moments of which always are spatial moments, also when they are not sensitive distances, intervals, regions, places etc. What should and could be here the meaning of `sensitive'? (It is rather difficult to translate the German word `sinnlich', which means sensitive, sensuous, sensible, also sensual; in the following context it designates what is given to and perceived by the so-called `five senses'. I shall render it with `sensitive'.) Space as space "is thought without consideration of the corporeal" (KPR, 12), but rather considering its own character, "that it gives space" (13). This spacing and giving space, that needs humans and hence their corporeality too, is not necessarily something corporeal itself, in the sense of the concrete given presence of a human body in flesh and blood. But it is corporeal and `bodily', insofar as it is sensitive, that is, it occurs by means of the senses. In "Hebel - Der Hausfreund" Heidegger says in reference to the sensitive: "all that in its visibility, audibility, sensibility bears and surrounds us, inspires and calms us: the sensible." (37)

In this context Heidegger speaks of language as what joins the dimensions of the sensitive and the non-sensitive, and on this occasion the relationship of language and space becomes once more, if inexplicitly, clearly obvious: "The word of language sounds and rings in the wording, lights, appears and shines in the writing. Sound and writing surely are something sensitive, but something sensitive in which a sense sounds and appears always in a particular way. As being the sensitive sense the word traverses through the expanse of the clearance between earth and sky. Language holds the space open, within which humans inhabit the house of the world upon the earth beneath the sky." (Hebel, 38)

This being sensitive, however, cannot any longer be considered as strictly separated from the un-sensitive. We might say, that starting from Heidegger's understanding of space a restriction to the so-called concrete is no longer admissible. When he speaks of space as of something "space-providing, letting in, releasing" (WS, 214) or when he names the "spacing and re-moving" character of space (Beiträge, 384), then he means a worldly expanse or breadth of space, that has left behind the distinction of and separation into sensitive and mental, concrete and abstract.

Although differently, both, space and spatial on the one hand and language and what belongs to its realm on the other hand reject and object to the usual or more exactly: to the metaphysical habit of separating the sensitive from the non-sensitive, the mental. While he calls this separation into question, Heidegger succeeds in bringing space and language closer to each other. The alleged sensitive realm of space and the alleged mental realm of language are no longer in need of symbols or metaphors nor of images in the usual sense when they are to be related to each other.

In another, different sense however we might truly speak of images or pictures (in German: Bilder); but then it should become clear, too, in what way that separation of sensible and non-sensible has to be called into question. By the way, I think, it is not accidental that very often to talk about space means to use images, better: to speak in images.

In order to get closer to the `positive' Heideggerian meaning of `image', we can start from a beautiful passage in his lecture "... dichterisch wohnet der Mensch ...". Here Heidegger says: "Our current name for the sight and appearance of something is `image'. The nature of the image is to let something be seen. By contrast, imitations and reproductions are already mere variations on the genuine image that, as a sight, lets the invisible be seen and so imagines the invisible into something alien to it. Because poetry takes that mysterious measure, that is from the face of heaven, it speaks in `images'. This is why the poetic images are imaginations in a distinctive sense ... as visible inclusions of the alien in the sight of the familiar. The poetic saying of the images gathers the brightness and sound of the heavenly appearances in unity with the darkness and the silence of the alien." (200f.)

The German word `Bild'- image - has at least three directions of meaning. In one sense - etymologically the first - it designates something formed and made and `built'. In a second sense the image is something visible, the sensual figure to be looked at with our eyes, - sound and image, that means: audible and visible. At last - and this seems to be the most prevalent meaning in literature and in the science of literature - image, in a combination of the two first meanings, is something that is formed either as an imitating reproduction of something other or as representing the other, that is: it is an image of and for something.

In passages like the quoted one, where Heidegger uses the word `Bild' within and for his own thinking, he takes it in the second of those three senses. When image is thus understood as that which is visible in things, it has an immediate, though unexpressed rapport to space as to the realm out of and from which something emerges into visibility. More often however, he denies to use images, that is, when they are understood as mere images of something or as reproductions. Thus the German word `Weltbild' - image or representation of the world - means a representation of the world that subjects form for themselves, so that it prohibits the world from showing up or displaying in its own visibility. "Taken in its very nature, `Weltbild' doesn't mean an image of the world, but the world understood as an image. The being in its whole is now taken in the sense, that it is being firstly and only insofar as it is positioned by representing and producing human beings." (Weltbild, 82)

But let us return to Heidegger's rare `positive' use of image and picture. The "genuine image" ... "as a sight, lets the invisible be seen". That seems to confirm the metaphysical assumption of a strict separation of the sensitive (visible) and the mental (invisible), yet in fact it precisely calls it into question. In order to clarify this fact, we have to observe, how Heidegger thinks the relationship of sensitive and nonsensitive: When thinking no longer conceives itself as metaphysical, that is, when it is no longer concerned with the relationship of Being and beings - as the relationship of something causing-determinating-effecting to something caused-determinated-effected - but instead with the "relationship of world and thing", and when it similarly is no longer concerned with the relationship of Being and humans, but with the "mortals in the fourfold of the world" (ZS, 40f. und 45), then, evidently, the distinction between one dimension of sensitive finitude, inconstancy and transitoriness, and another dimension of the nonsensitive, the mental, the constant and the enduring becomes invalid. For then, Being and principle or cause are no longer something mental and un-sensitive, separated from the sensible, but rather the relatedness of the sensitive itself. The sight lets the invisible be seen. The sensitively visible is transparent towards the invisible relatedness, which exists in and as the visible itself.


In two of his writings Heidegger has quoted a remark of Johann Peter Hebel, the explanation of which makes visible his own understanding of the relationship of the sensitive and the non-sensitive. I already referred to parts of this explanation. The remark reads as follows: "We are plants which with our roots have to climb out of the earth - whether we like to admit it or not - in order to flower in the ether and to bare fruit." ("Hebel - Der Hausfreund", 37f., also "Zur Erörterung der Gelassenheit", 16f. und 28) And Heidegger himself adds: "The earth - this word in Hebel's sentence denotes all that which - in its visibility, audibility, sensitivity - bears and surrounds us, inspires and calms us: the sensitive. / The ether (the heaven) - this word in Hebel's sentence denotes all that we perceive but not with the sense-organs: the non-sensitive, the sense [that is: the meaning], the mental."

In speaking of the earth as of something inspiring and calming Heidegger implicitly accomplishes a certain reversal of the intention of Hebel's sentence, or of the attitude that underlies it. The two sides mentioned in that remark are explained in such a way, that in both of them that which normally is opposed to them is almost inconspicuously included within them. In this manner Heidegger calls into question the opposition between that out of which one has to climb and that to which the climbing out leads, the `true' dimension of flowering and bringing fruit.

According to our tradition human sensitivity is primarily connected with affection by sensation and perception. There is something that offers itself to seeing, feeling etc. When Heidegger speaks of earth as the visible, audible, sensitive and designates it as the sensual or sensuous, he seems to take up this moment of receptivity and of being affected. But there is something else at stake. The earth is not only visible, but it "bears and surrounds, inspires and calms", and it does so just in being something sensitive or sensuous. These notions have nothing or little to do with a Kantian `sense material'. That the earthly sensitive "bears and surrounds us" means that earth is both, our ground and the realm within which we live. We live upon it, and we belong to it. The sensuous-earthly character is what we - being ourselves sensuous-earthly - are concerned with.

At the same time earth shall inspire and calm. Maybe with the inspiring Heidegger especially means the flowering and with the calming the bringing of fruit. The flowering takes its glowing colors from earth, the bringing of fruit needs the calm patience and composure taken from earth too. But above all, when the visible, audible and sensitive inspires and calms it speaks to him who perceives, looks and listens. It encounters the perceiving. Thus it attunes him, moves him into a special mood. The sensitive inspires us by moving or attuning into a mood in which we are ardent for something (I use `to inspire' for the German `befeuern' that is literally: to in-fire). We support it with inflaming words, consume ourselves in a burning desire etc.

Yet we only become or are inspired when we admit and accept being inspired and seized, that is, when we open ourselves to the inspiring and concerning. We must go to meet it, join it. And also in order to grow calm we need an active giving way to it. We are not calmed if we do not listen to the calming voice and do not pay attention to it. Instead of a mere receptivity and passivity of the sensitive perceiving there should `act' a getting involved in what attunes and determines us.

Accordingly, Heidegger explains the non-sensitive by that which we usually understand as its contrary: "all that we perceive but not with our sense-organs: the non-sensitive, the sense [the meaning], the mental." The word `perceiving' at first seems to indicate the direction of receptivity. We perceive, that is, we take something upon us, we accept to be determined in some way. Yet we perceive the non-sensitive in another way than the sensitive, we do not perceive it with the senses, but by its sense. That to which we arrive with this particular perceiving is designated as "the free air of the high sky, the open area of mind." (Gel, 17) By the non-sensitive is meant something "senseful" in terms of this or that special sense or significance, something mental or spiritual that has its place in a broader space, in a free openness. It is more than it is. As something spiritual it belongs to the openness, within which it both relates to others and develops from others. Heidegger understands the mental and the spiritual as something surrounding or embracing or pervading, as a realm, an area, the mind-space, which as such is designated as `free', `high', `open'. As there occurs a moment of perceiving in both, the sensitive and the non-sensitive, there also occurs a spatial moment, a moment of an embracing generality.

We already heard that in his explanation of Hebel's sentence Heidegger also negates the strict opposition of the sensitive and the nonsensitive by pondering on what is between them, between earth and sky, on the "way and path ... between the profundity of the perfect sensitive and the height of the keenest mind" (Hebel, 38), that is language. The visible and the audible of language too, that is image and sound, cannot be separated from what comes to the word in them. In being sensitive they have a sense. The senses are their sense. That means, related to human beings and to Hebel's image of the plants that climb out of the earth, that the twofold-unique climbing itself, the generating from the earth and the rising into the free and open space of the air, is understood as being sensitive-senseful in a broad sense as something which belongs to or rather is determined by language, and thus it also belongs to the realm or dimension of human being with one another.


The "high sky", contrasted to the "profundity of the homely soil", the area of the un-sensitive and the sense truly has its own visibility, but as being the area of the mind it yet is the openness itself and as such it is invisible. When Heidegger says that the image, as a sight, lets the invisible be seen, the contrast between the visible and the invisible is no dialectical contradiction, but an open hovering or oscillating. The visible becomes transparent for that which could be named the depth or breadth of its invisible visibility, its openness. The invisible is, so to say, the backside of the visible, not a higher or more essential dimension, nor an example or a model for it, but the occurring of its arrival in the unconcealedness and openness of visibility that in itself is not visible. Or rather in an invisibility that belongs to a seeing, of which Heidegger says in "Der Satz von Grund", that it is not "limited to what is brought to the eyes as a sensation on the retina". ("Because our hearing and seeing is never a mere sensitive receiving, it is always inadequate to say that thinking as listening and viewing is only meant as a metaphorical transfer, that is, a transfer from the alleged sensitive into the nonsensitivle." (SG, 88))

The relationship of sensitive and non-sensitive, connected to the relationship of visible earth and invisible sky, also is the area of that poem of Hölderlin, from which Heidegger`s "... Poetically man dwells..." starts. As with respect to the remark of Hebel, Heidegger here too is managing a small shift in referring to the sensitive and the non-sensitive - presumably without being aware of his doing so. The verses before those which name the poetically dwelling read as follows: "When trouble is the life, may then the human look upward and say: I wish to be similar? Yes. As long as kindliness, the pure, still remains at heart, the human measures himself not unhappily with the Deity. Is God unknown? Is he revealed? That is rather what I think. He is the measuring criterion of humans." In Hölderlin there is no measure on earth, instead humans take their measure from the sky, up to which they look, they measure themselves with the God, who is "revealed like the sky". Therefore humans may be called "an image of the Deity" some verses later on. Earth and sky, being separated, lie face to face to one another, and humans are distinguished from other beings by having the capacity of looking away from the earth up to the sky.

Heidegger instead declares: "The looking up goes through the upward to the sky while it stays in the underneath on the earth. The looking up goes through the in-between of sky and earth." Heidegger is interested in the "dimension" of the "inbetween of sky and earth": "The essence of the dimension is the cleared and thus permeasurable giving a measure of the in between: of the upward to the sky as the downward to the earth." (dichterisch ..., 200f.) Just because the direction in Hölderlin is rather an unambiguous one, away from earth upward to the sky, Heidegger's speaking of the twofold in between becomes all the more important. Human beings are human beings, insofar as they permeate that inter-space, - that is, insofar as they inhabit the in between.

We already heard: "The poetic saying of the images gathers the brightness and sound of the heavenly appearances in unity with the darkness and the silence of the alien." (201) Darkness and silence of the alien - I think, within our present context we might as well speak of the depth of space and its invisibility. Perhaps it is misleading that Heidegger says the alien. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say `alienness' or `the alienly being'. For it is not a distinctive being that would move into a dimension of visibility, a certain invisible that would communicate to a visible. At stake is rather the question of the alienness of the familiar as such, the darkness of the brightening, the silence of the sounding, appearing in unity with brightness and sound. The familiar brightness becomes alien within the space of the dark.

There are no two matters bound together, no two matters that are opposed or in dialectical contradiction to one another - the bright and sounding appearances of the sky on the one hand and darkness and silence on the other. The poetical images are "visible inclusions of the alien in the sight of the familiar". That does not mean that reality is here and there permeated by incidents of something alien. Instead, within the sight of the familiar the alien appears. The sight itself appears as alien. The familiar shows its own alienness, becomes alien. In the poetical images Being and Nothingness gather, they do not join being one beneath the other, but being in another. They become transparent one for the other. The image lets the invisible be seen, and the other one, the darkness of the all-containing breadth "imagines the invisible" as the alien into the familiar.

That which is gathered into a region by a place throws its shadow into the realm of its origin, into the space of nothingness. Or, seen from the opposite point of view: the originary and originating realm, the invisibility or concealedness designs itself in what is emerging, in the visible and audible of brightness and sound. The work of art indeed gathers both of them within itself in staying on the threshold between them. If the visible is experienced and becomes visible as something arriving and occurring, that is emerging out of the space of its origin, it always will be more than it is. The mystery and the strangeness of the arriving appear within the familiarity of its sight. In this sense the things in space are images in themselves, not images for or of something, but nothing other than images, something showing up and arriving, shiningly appearing, "inclusion of alienness in the sight of the familiar".


In our last reflections there appeared a special feature that in different aspects is peculiar to space and, implicitly, was already present in much of what preceded. Space is characterized by a particular nothingness. My last reflection shall deal with nothingness as a moment of space.

To ask the question of space is to look at the relationship of space and place and of space and humans. The work of art has its place at the junction of both relationships. In reference to both, place and humans, space has the quality of occurring and concerning, of moving out and encountering, of arriving and granting. These seemingly `positive' movements at the same time have a character of nothingness. Space is the void and empty breadth, the nothing of spatial beings, that only owing to this emptiness may provide a place to spatial things. Thus we read in "Die Kunst und der Raum": "The void is not nothing. It is also no lack or deficiency. In the corporealization of a sculpture the void sways in the manner of a granting, that searches and projects." (KR, 12) Space is a dimension of securing and concealing, of restraining and withholding, a dimension that brings together presence and absence, brightness and darkness, sounds and silence.

The moments of nothing and nothingness, too, have to do with the moving and occurring character of space. Nothing is the primordial dimension of every coming to be and passing away of appearing beings. Arrival and coming in are possible only if there is an empty and open dimension, as lights may shine only out of the darkness, relations may extend themselves only through a free realm, and places may have contact to one another only crossing an interspace - even if this latter is infinitely small.

"The region gathers, as nothing were occurring, everything to everything", we read in the text of the Gelassenheits-Gespräch. "As if nothing were occurring" - I think, that this seemingly unobtrusive phrase in fact brings out and expresses the profound character of the spacing space (and the timing time). `As if' - that means the twofolded threshold of the decision between Being and Nothing. As the region gathers all together and at the same time each into its own, there is everything and nothing occurring to things and human beings in the world. Or, with other words: world occurs or - there is nothing about things and humans.

In a little text ("Aufzeichnungen aus der Werkstatt" - "Recordings from the studio of working") Heidegger made the following remark in reference to "meditating thinking": "Its saying, when in seldom moments it succeeds, is as if nothing were be said. The meditating thinking shines through the essential areas of experience like morning light, that preserves the night, in order to give way to the day - and all that, as if it were nothing." (GA 13, 153) Again we encounter this `as if', that guides into the suspending balance of Being and Nothingness. And again the darkness, that has to be preserved and maintained in the morning light, in order to let this give free the day into its visibility.

Space has a character of nothingness because it is the dark and void dimension, within which and out of which something visible may emerge and may be given. At the same time in the occurring of the beingless space there is also a moment of concealing and of restraining the granted. Presumably this restraining concealment is connected to a self-concealment of space in what is spaced. Space - "space's giving-admitting-releasing" (WS, 200) - doesn't show up as such. Just in letting places be and in giving a stay to things it postpones itself behind the things and hides behind, or better in them. At several points Heidegger designates the occurring of Being, the concerning emergence of essence and thus also the spacing of space as nearness, as bringing near. "Nearness brings near the remote and, indeed, as the remote ... Bringing near in this way, nearness conceals itself and remains, in its own way, nearest of all." (Ding, 176) The nearness is the nearest where it is the less visible, because it wholly recedes in deference to what is brought near, because it nearly vanishes into it, hides and conceals in it.

But it does not hide only itself. Things that are presented in nearness always are among others, which themselves may be present or absent, which are present and absent, as they always hold out and hold back in the openness. "In the reigning face-to-face all things are open for one another, open in their self concealing" (WS, 211) The relatedness of the appearing in the nearness either shows explicitly or contains implicitly other and different beings, that appear not yet or no more or not here. The sphere of the present is a sphere of possibility in which the present as well as the absent occupies its place - or doesn't occupy it. Region is "the clearing that gives free and frees, where everything that is cleared, together with the self-concealing, arrives into the free openness." (WS, 197). Presence and absence concern humans. Both occur in the openness of space. If something may reveal or conceal itself both belong - if they really do concern human beings - in the space of the spacing occurrence, which is, as we have seen, as well the space between earth and sky as the space between the visible image and the invisible dark and silent dimension of giving and granting.

The dwelling in the inter-space between earth and sky is a mortal dwelling, just because it takes part in the sensitive and the non-sensitive, the visible and the invisible, in the revealed and the concealed and self concealing, in Being and Nothingness. The twofold unity of visible presence and absence of the invisible pervades the dimension of mortality. Only in being mortal, that is, in breathing and living in and out of that twofoldness, humans may take their measure from the invisible and thus may bring the invisible into the visibility of the work of art - be it the visibility of a spatial structure or of something said. Art is "that which in a revealing way lets the invisible appear" (GA 4, 162).



Heidegger, M. 1927: Sein und Zeit. Tübingen, Niemeyer. (SuZ)

________ 1954: "Das Ding". In: Vorträge und Aufsätze. Pfullingen, Neske. (Ding)

________ 1954: "Bauen, Wohnen, Denken". In: Vorträge und Aufsätze. Pfullingen, Neske. (BWD)

________ 1954: "...dichterisch wohnet der Mensch ...". In: Vorträge und Aufsätze. Pfullingen, Pfullingen, Neske. (dichterisch ...)

________ 1957: "Der Ursprung des Kunstwerks". In: Holzwege. Frankfurt/M, Klostermann. (UK)

________ 1957: "Die Zeit des Weltbildes". In: Holzwege. Frankfurt/M, Klostermann. (Weltbild)

________ 1957: Hebel - Der Hausfreund. Pfullingen, Neske. (Hebel)

________ 1957: "Der Satz der Identität". In: Identität und Differenz. Pfullingen, Neske. (SI)

________ 1957: Der Satz vom Grund. Pfullingen, Neske. (SG)

________ 1959: "Zur Erörterung der Gelassenheit". In: Gelassenheit. Aus einem Feldweggespräch über das Denken. Pfullingen, Neske. (Gel)

________ 1959: "Das Wesen der Sprache". In: Unterwegs zur Sprache. Pfullingen, Neske. (WS)

________ 1959 "Die Sprache". In: Unterwegs zur Sprache. Pfullingen, Neske. (Sprache)

________ 1959 "Aus einem Gespräch von der Sprache". In: Unterwegs zur Sprache. Pfullingen, Neske. (Gespräch)

________ 1959 "Die Sprache im Gedicht". In: Unterwegs zur Sprache. Pfullingen, Neske. (Die Sprache)

________ 1967: Brief über den `Humanismus': Wegmarken. Frankfurt/M, Klostermann. (Humanismus)

________ 1969: "Zeit und Sein". In: Zur Sache des Denkens. Tübingen, Niemeyer. (ZuS)

________ 1969: Die Kunst und der Raum. St. Gallen, Erker. (KR)

________ 1981: "Hölderlins Erde und Himmel". In: Erläuterungen zu Hölderlins Dichtung. Gesamtausgabe v. 4. Frankfurt/M, Klostermann. (GA 4)

________ 1983: "Cézanne". In: Gedachtes.Gesamtausgabe v. 13. Frankfurt/M, Klostermann. (GA 13)

________ 1983: Aufzeichnungen aus der Werkstatt. Gesamtausgabe v. 13. Frankfurt/M, Klostermann. (GA 13)

________ 1984: Hölderlins Hymne `Der Ister'. Gesamtausgabe v. 53. Frankfurt/M, Klostermann. (Ister)

________ 1989: Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis). Gesamtausgabe v. 65. Frankfurt/M, Klostermann. (Beiträge)

________ 1996: Bemerkungen zu Kunst - Plastik - Raum. St. Gallen. (KPR)



Endereço para coorespondência

Recebido em: 30/11/2001
Aprovado em: 15/02/2002