It struck me during the course of re-living room, that like the lives we all inhabit, this two week process has been built around an ever-entrenched routine. I've developed a habit borne out of the necessity to complete the project. Each morning I have woken thinking of how I will inhabit the re-living room space that day. Each day i've travelled to the gallery, buying a copy of the local paper on the way. Once at the gallery, I've assembled that day's new additions and photographed them for documentation purposes, before carefully placing them in their rightful place in the room. Each day I've carefully photographed the installation from the same spot outside the window, in order to build a verifiable progressive body of documentation. Each day I've uploaded the images and blogged the results, in the same way. This routine has sustained me. It's given me a framework within which I've been able to successfully make each successive intervention and reach the end of the process without missing a day. The routine has instilled a disciplined approach. The routine instilled a purpose.
Today, whilst sitting in the place I've installed over the fortnight and reading Geoff Dyer's essay "Inhabiting", in Restless Cities, I realised that I'd formed a habit. I'd become comfortable with the routine which was now in effect controlling the structure of my day. This it seems to me is how we tend to cope with our days. We have a need to fill our lives with familiar structures, events and things in order to create a sense of purpose, comfort, security, sureness, confidence and safety.
Halfway through re-living room, a comment from a friend regarding the placement of a particular artefact helped me realise that in order to fully resolve the space I was building, I had to properly consider the particular inhabitant of it. Up until this point, I'd considered that it might be anyone who might live in this room. I'd placed a used fast-food carton at the foot of the chair, which I'd thought would suggest occupation of the space. But my friend insisted that the man who lived there was too tidy to have left a discarded fast food carton laying around in his living room. He would, she said, have consumed his fast food meal from a plate. He simply wasn't the type to eat direct from the carton. He had too much class, or manners or more importantly, pride in himself, his room and his life for that.
And she was right. In order to fully realise this space, it had to be filled by the idea of a real inhabitant, with a character, and a set of values. Someone who looked after himself and his belongings, his room and his house. Someone who was a bit bewildered that the surrounding houses were being pulled down and demolished around him.
I started the project exploring the idea that place=space+inhabitation. But simple inhabitation doesn't seem to be enough. it has to be a particular inhabitation, an inhabitation with a purpose.
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