The everyday experience in first world societies is filled with cliché sayings about home. “Home” is a loaded word for a reason in that beyond its literal physical meaning, it evokes a significant emotional response in all humans. As the identity, relationships and limitations of the person are constantly transitioning, so too does their relationship with the house and landscape. Humans will endlessly dream about and stress over a more suitable place to live, however the connection to such is both physically and emotionally impermanent. The notion of the ideal home is an illusion.
Although every person’s idea of comfort, love and privacy vary, we are all unified by sentiment to and for our dwelling. In the book The Prehistory of Home archeologist Jerry D. Moore defines humanity by the differentiation between a human’s home and an animal’s shelter. It is a crucial characteristic of our species, across time and cultures, to build and maintain our homes. Further, whereas animals must adapt to their environment, people have the ability to control theirs. We have the power and resources to live anywhere in the world, thus it is a common theme to have a desire to go elsewhere because we can.
Humanist Geographer Yi-Fu Tuan addresses the topic of human connection to homeland and the desire of elsewhere in his book Space and Place. Tuan differentiates between home, place and space: home is where we are from; place is where we are currently and where we feel security in and attachment to; space is where we want to go, where we long for freedom and something different from our home and place. Likewise— although it does not strictly adhere to said terminology— my work is concerned with three types of homes: formative, physical and emotional. The formative is biographical and accounts for the house(s) in one’s past, particularly the home in which they were raised in childhood. The physical is one’s current house and can distinguish one’s independent self in adulthood from their juvenile life in their parent’s house. The emotional is the place we all aspire to go.
We will not reach the emotional home— what Tuan refers to as space— however, we will attempt to do so by changing our physical house and geography. Ultimately, we are just moving place to place in an effort to find a sense of space. We cannot be satisfied and will never reach our personal ideal, but we will certainly try our damnedest to get to such. Some may choose the security of their current physical home, but will undoubtedly fantasize of elsewhere as well as take efforts to improve upon their own. Either way, our dwellings— in whatever form they may be— are impermanent structures in terms of both physical and emotional attachment; they are always subject to change by both force and our own will.
A series of houses is used in my work as imagery for a narrative, a biography of the person inhabiting the space; it is a self-portrait and autobiography. The work takes this everyday image of a house or otherwise man-made shelter and reconfigures it into an abstracted monument, making the personal object a universal symbol in order to communicate across cultures and lifestyles the importance of one’s own dwelling. The intention with these works is for viewers to consider and question their personal boundaries of comfort and their relationship towards their physical home.