Symbols of Space and Imagination: A Visual Exploration of Experiences of Space


What is the difference in experiencing a dark, forested setting and a vast open desert? Between being in a room with an open door and a closed one? How do experiences of space impact one’s sense of self or orientation in the world? Through a phenomenological lens, this paper explores how we experience physical spaces and how these spaces influence our imagination and understanding of self. In looking at the role of visual symbols as tools for navigating the landscape, this paper introduces a symbolic exploration of interior and exterior space and the development of a visual language surrounding individual experiences of space, both physical and imaginative. The work draws on philosophical concepts such as intimate spaces and the sublime, as well as physical symbols that are found in the landscape, such as petroglyphs and pictographs.


Susanna Herrmann
Assistant Professor, Art + Design, Southern Utah University, Utah, United States


Presentation Type

Poster Session


2023 Special Focus—New Agendas for Design: Principles of Scale, Practices of Inclusion


Imagination, Navigation, Orientation, Awe, Landscape, Space

Digital Media


Symbols of Space and Imagination (pdf)