The last time I thought about prepositions was when studying Spanish. This image was helpful. I haven’t thought about them since those days, but now they are all I think about.
“a word governing, and usually preceding, a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation to another word or element in the clause, as in ‘the man on the platform’, ‘she arrived after dinner’, ‘what did you do it for ?’
Late Middle English: from Latin praepositio(n- ), from the verb praeponere, from prae ‘before’ + ponere ‘to place’.”
Prepositions both come before and situate things. They determine the relationship of/between things.
Michel Serres personifies prepositions as the angel. The angel is a messenger, a mediator. The angelic condition is both spatial and temporal, and the messages that they bring are intensified in places of flux, for example, in new technologies.
Jane Rendell writes a wonderful essay with Pamela Wells on “the place of prepositions” where they refer to this analogy, and use:
“The angelic properties of prepositions as a means of making connections between two, between people and place, between theory and practice. Some prepositions emphasise positions, the relation of an object or a subject to place, such as on, in between, through. Others focus on relationships between subjects and objects, for example among and with, and the directional nature of these connections, like, for or to. Yet others contain elements of time, as in beyond. We also suggest that art objects and processes can function like prepositions: they change everything around them”
In our spaces and practices class we explored how the relationship between learning and design change depending on the preposition that forms their relationship.
This exercise had a profound effect on my thinking. Prepositions now pop-up in many parts of my life when previously I had not given them much thought. They seem to frame everything I do and say, as well as the way I experience things and objects. Probably now my life has become very dull, because I feel the need to question how words and things are positioned in relation to space and people through how they are pre-positioned.
We asked: what are the process, tools, or objects that preposition your learning?
A couple of weeks ago I adapted the exercise for Interactive Scientific, a science and education start-up based in Bristol.
We explored how the relationship between science and learning change depending on how they are connected with prepositions. We then had a fascinating discussion about what kind of objects or processes are prepositions to science leaning.