Going Home : habitat sequences 


Some people go home to die.
-Haegue Yang -

House has a poetic way of imprinting human existence. Domestic spaces cast memories, their walls affected by daily wear and tear, remembering every bump, every stress. In the house, people undergo many good or bad sequences of life.  

-Habitat sequences:

Expectations for marriage and a happy future
The Birth of a Child
A cozy clean bed
A voice whispering, I love you
Child's laughter
A big cuddle
Warm soup on a cold winter's day
Oversleeping on rainy days
Father's humming when he shaves
Afternoon Tea Time with little sister
BBQ in the summer evening
Dance with mom and dad
An attic that I always want to go back to
The sunshine of the morning pouring in through a large window
The place my dear lover waits for me
The smell and touch of a white towel after laundry
Walking a dog on Sunday
Belonging and intimacy
Repetition of everyday life
Expectation of family
Death of an old dog
A child who never stops crying
The silence of a disappointed family
Depression and lethargy of old parents
A sudden debt
Fighting sounds which can be heard even when the child closes his eyes
Gambling and cocaine abuse
A firmly locked room
Faint sobs escaped from a wife’s bed
A look of disdain
A deep night's knock on my door
Stepdad’s eyes looking at me
Getting old and sick
Hoping to murder the old guy who was violent a long time ago
Young mom's hands throwing a newborn baby out of the window
Death of lifetime partner
Whistling and humming
Plan for a trip to a distant place

Cradle and grave. Sleep and death.
Everything is part of a large wheel which has one axis.

Some people go home to die.

The time leaves a deep trace not only on space but also on the resident. The old haunted house and the look of resident resemble. The walls remember, there is no such thing as a utopic dwelling. Pierre Bourdieu explains that “mixing of obsession, home, and memory, one could argue that houses are stories and narratives of hauntings by memories, ghosts, traces of selves and others, ... [is this punctuation in the original quote? It seems odd] which frequently mimic the psyche and bodies of their inhabitants as well as the social practices and political ideologies, the habitus of the nation” (qtd in Briganti and Mezei 148). The home becomes a haunting of the societal happenings of the time.

In The Poetics of Space[1957] Gaston Bachelard builds his unique imagination through investigating intimate spaces such as a house, a drawer, a night dresser and a shelf which preoccupy poetry. He expresses the idea that a home that has been experienced is more than an inert box -- it is the nest of a human being. The house is the first universe that most of humans have when they are born. This condition mades for a special intimacy and adhesion between dwellers and their houses. In that sense, Bachelard asks how dwellings and space affect us and formulate our fantasies and imaginations. He says, “We comfort ourselves by reliving memories of protection. Something closed must retain our memories, while leaving them their original value as images. Memories of the outside world will never have the same tonality as those of home and, by recalling these memories, we add to our store of dreams; we are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion is perhaps nothing but an expression of a poetry that was lost.”(Bachelard, 1970, p. 6)

Contemplating spaces can build a phenomenological relationship into the meaning of spaces. Bachelard’s meditation on the oneiric space which is intimate to our memories opens fertile ground for our imagination. He recalls many poetries that depict images of the house since he believes that the poetic image emerges into our consciousness as a direct ramification to our soul. He asserts that what causes us to be lost in wild fancies is not a clear image, but an obscure image. Only obscure and poetic image can open our heart and soul and bring us to our memories of the attics and cellars, where our imagination was becoming.