Final Major Project
'Sense of Belonging'
How do we deﬁne ‘home’? Everyone’s idea of home looks different: some might view it as a physical space, a person, a feeling of belonging, or even a period of time.
As a young adult and student, it’s common to move each year in order to search for cheaper rent or to live with other people. So if we’re constantly moving from one place to another, what is it about home that brings us comfort? And with every move, what is it that we carry into the next place?
My project is based on the meaning of homes, exploring identity, and belonging. I’m aiming to explore how we manage to adapt to different places in order to call them our homes, what it is that makes a space a home, and more particularly the sense of uncertainty when moving in between places.
My project has had a set location from the beginning. I’ve been depicting my past- and current surroundings throughout the entire project, and my main way of combining the two was to situate prints of photographs taken in my old flat in my current house I live in. My work has progressed throughout this project but ultimately lead me to the point of being situated in my home in Whitechapel.
Usually, I tend to make my final pieces look idealistic, so although my interiors and actually the entire house itself isn’t up to an ideal standard that I’d want to share, this is the reality of my project and one of the key factors I’m focussing on. The house is far from being a visually appealing place to pho-tograph things in, but these are my immediate surroundings. They aren’t at all what I’d call a comforting home but that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to portray. The site-specificness of my project allows me to depict my living situation in complete honesty and with personal experience. If I didn’t situate my project in my current home it would lose context and meaning.
Audience / Impact / Meaning
Who is the work for?
My work in this project is aimed at young adults roughly between the ages of 18-28. This age bracket of young adults is the most likely to live in short-term houses and knows the feelings of constantly moving from one place to another. It’s common for people this age to only sign contracts for a year, sometimes even less, and then be on the search for a new place to try and call home again. It would also relate to people who have moved countries or people with separated parents and therefore have multiple homes.
What impact do you hope it will make?
My aim for ‘Sense of Belonging’ is that it will start a conversation about the uncertainties of moving and having to constantly adapt to new places. I feel that people naturally tend to make out that moving can be an easy process, but there’s nothing wrong in admitting that you haven’t been able to find comfort somewhere, this is something I have had to come to terms with myself during the process of this project especially. I hope that people will be able to relate in some ways, whether it reminds them of their current surroundings or spaces they previously occupied.
The main impact I hope to make is for the audience to realise that ‘home’ can have many different meanings for each individual. For this project, I have used my house to explore whether I view it as a home, but the space itself is not actually where I find comfort, as I still reminisce about where I used to live.
How will it change how people think about the world?
I’d like to question the idea of home in general so for people to reflect on their own home and what they have in this world. My intention is for people to change their thought processes and realise that not all possessions in the world should be viewed in a materialistic way. To reflect on the things closest to them and what brings each person comfort.
Up until this point I hadn’t actually made a project so personal and revealing about my own circumstances and immediate surroundings. Basing a project on my current situation made it much more emotional than expected, but this is my reality and I’m actually still coming to terms with how this house makes me feel. I’ve subconsciously repressed my feelings and they’ve only come to light since focusing on this project and having to dig deep into the ‘how’s’ and ‘why’s’, which is when I realised how unhappy I’ve been in the past eight months of living here. I’ve tried to avoid these feelings by searching for meaning and comfort in other places, especially with my close friends, and so my home isn’t where I find my comfort anymore. This is also why comfort and uncertainty are such vital elements of my work.
Screen printing, and especially CMYK screen printing, was definitely the correct method to use to depict this project. Printing in CMYK allowed me to portray almost realistic representations from my archive of pictures from when I lived in my old flat. I enjoyed experimenting with colours and looking to find a way that gives my prints a nostalgic feel. Using the mirrors as a way to combine the two together was also an effective way of bringing my past and current environment into one piece.
What I didn’t realise at the time, was how difficult screen printing multiple layers onto a mirror would be. All the mishaps I discussed in my blog were difficult to process when I had such a limited timeframe for the FMP. The most challenging mishap was after I had created the perfect print and left it to dry - someone else spilled water on it. Obviously, with the delicacy of printing onto mirrors, the paint, unfortunately, isn’t permanent and so I had to reprint it again, in an incredibly short space of time. This led to one layer of my long panel design bleeding yellow colour through the screen without me being able to reprint it a third time. Some might say that unless you know there’s a mistake you wouldn’t even notice anything went wrong, but for me, it’s hard to not fixate on detail like this when I know I printed it perfectly the first time. For the exhibition, I will be reprinting my mirrors to make sure there won’t be any little mistakes on my final prints. It’s almost ironic, as it somewhat reflects how I’ve had to adapt to many situations within the house, and each time it’s never going to be as good as living in my old flat.
The view of what makes a home has continually been a transient notion and will inevitably shift throughout our lives. Most of us would relate a particular domestic setting with our understanding of home, and it’s this relationship in particular that has formed the focal point of my project. I aimed to achieve both a relatable but also unfamiliar feeling when looking at my printed layered mirrors as if there’s something about them that you’re unsure about. I’ve sought to evoke feelings of nostalgia while coming to terms with a fluid concept of home myself. This transient notion and lifestyle changes as we move through life. I wouldn’t be able to recreate this project in a few years' time with the same outcome as my living situation might be completely different and therefore my feelings and emotions of comfort might have also shifted.
Although I don’t have much experience filming and editing, I put together a short video to display my prints in their site-specific location, aka my home. It’s a simple, yet effective way to view and see them together as one outcome. At first, I was unsure about what atmosphere I wanted to depict in terms of sounds. When you think of noise and sound at home you might think of having the window open and hearing the wind and birds etc. I wanted to incorporate some of these aspects but less idealistic, so I chose a sound that had birds chirping but on a highway so the chirping is soon interrupted with harsher sounds of cars on a road. The atmosphere starts by being quite comforting but is soon interrupted and therefore has an uneasiness to it that matches my project perfectly. I borrowed a tripod from uni to film more successful shots and planned and visualised where to position my prints in my home. The typography I chose reminded me of the texture I’ve achieved through screen printing, due to it having a broken / rough edge to it, which also perfectly resembles my immediate surroundings.