So they’ve begun. My students, Oleg, Sara, Helena, Nikola and Josip are now taking over the city of Maribor and learning the hard way that places, people and interactions don’t always come together very easily.
Here’s what they were dealing with
Day 1 – Home
There just may be, and if there isn’t there should be, some old song that says that “you don’t know where you’re going till you know where you’ve been”. The refrain should talk about how you need to know where you’ve started to know either. This requires a “living spatialised memory” [1. DE BOECK, Filip, 1998. The Rootedness of Trees. In: LOVELL, Nadia, ed. Locality and Belonging, p.26.] of reference points. To have a point of reference you need to have a declared home, a starting point. As another axiom of long ago posits, “you gotta start somewhere.” That somewhere, that home is invariably rooted in memory and place. It’s where you start, or imagine that you start. It is these “images of the past” that “legitimate a present social order,”[2. CONNERTON, Paul, 1989. How Societies Remember, p.3.] and makes you what you are, and in short, form your identity.
So they started with “home”. This was basically so we can learn about place and how places come about. After way too much coffee and cigarettes and way too much time talking the last hour they went out and started building. The purpose of the home was to get them going on thinking about place and how to create place, and to get them thinking about how they fit into them. Everyone came up with some good thinking around objects and their relations to the home, using the language of home (slippers, the toilet) to think about somewhere that could provide something for them, namely a sense of security, safety or simply somewhere to leave their stuff.
Day 2 – Home, again.
Home is a real sticky question, and that’s why its in there. For one, when talking about place, its the easiest usually to talk about, but the hardest to make. Home just kind of happens, or already is. So the thinking is that if you start trying to make a home, you would start thinking about the context of space and how it makes you feel and how you act in it. Starting at home seemed to be the most painful introduction to thinking about space, eating up loads of time in discussion and analysis, but I was super pleased that my constant Durrell Bishop pleas to just get building already were finally answered.
There was a raft somewhere on the river sequestered, some construction site dumps rummaged through for material and some good work towards how the two groups will be working their places. They had some really great things happen as well once they started actually trying to create places. Some kids came over and wanted to visit, random guys came over and funny things started to happen like people using the marked ‘doors’.