If the private becomes public

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

Monday 13 april 2020

Pest, Hungary

Ine Van Horen

While reading an article from the Netherlands, about the disenchantment of our homes, or more specific, 'the home' as a feeling. Where they refer to sociologist Paolo Boccagni. ‘Because of the current world-health crisis we can find new answers for our common, sceptical question

“What’s the point of studying home?”

I come up with a lot of reflectons about my own situation and behaviour. The sickness of the artist of being an absorber and observer, but also my modern wish of having that kind of semi-public life. But also the time I spend to make my house comfortable, place the objects as if it's an installation, change the furniture every month, because then I clean everything at once.

Now because of spring, I am trying out to make my little balcony and frontdoor as cosy as possible, placing some books that make me feel home and sharing that with the neighbours. Constantly checking if stuff at the other balconies are changing. Is it Spring or just my inner-spy?

The architecture of this buildings makes already the private and public-questionmark and especially, who is responsible for the space? The hallway is not fixed for example, we don't know who our housekeeper is.

Right before the quarantine my neighbour came to me to sign a paper.They were having a meeting in the bar downstairs, to change our landlord, the one who is in charge of the whole building. Normally I was travelling to Warsawa, but felt so pity I couldn't be there. Then my flight got cancelled and I was happy to be able to join the meeting. But then the meeting got cancelled, because we couldn't gather with each other anymore...

Since the beginning of my stay I am collecting all the papers people who want to buy flats put in the mailboxes. I was always amused by the typewriting and the paper they used, it became an aesthetic ritual.

Then placing them on my fridge, waiting to call all of the people to get to know why they want to buy appartments, what they will do with it, how much they would pay.

I realize that my neighbors are not eating outside, even if the weather is nice. That's most probably something I took from home. The house were I grew up in in Haaltert, Belgium had immediatly -in full renovationworks- a table and chairs for everyone, even two picknick banks in the garden: "in case we give a party, or have people visiting us, for the friends and family coming to help with moving, for when there is some of the children doing their communion etc". Our garden was installed to be a communal garden, although we were there a lot only us, the family, which were six people.

From the moment there was good weather we ate outside, even in winter with a warm coat sometimes. The wish to be outside comes from somewhere. So now also two chairs are placed outside. Waiting to be visited, giving a cafée-vibe. But actually it's cafées/bars wanting to recreate that home-feeling for us and let us pay for it. Or is it a middle class phenomenon? Because we have 'free-time'.

The architecture here of some appartment-blocks in downtown have those courtyards, which feels like like the street, but it's not enlivened, there are fences and closed doors. I never needed to open and close so many doors as being here before I get into someones home.

link to the article, it's in Dutch from the Netherlands, a facebook-friend of mine, who works in Brussels to make the public space more childfriendly using sociology and urban planning, shared it on her public online-wall: De onttovering van thuis./The disenchantment of home. https://www.groene.nl/artikel/de-onttovering-van-thuis?fbclid=IwAR0YYDVXF2Ldws4eI7hRH5_tpiZ-HFWT8eVw9nPFR5V2jrRXe5SQW5fsEf4

The online space is already for a long time also public space. We bring our private so public that we also influence each other a lot with the images we share. Instagram is a place with publicity, but also with strong communities. (Sounds pretty simmilar to public space, no?). Now during the quarantine a lot of projects are rising and are shared. We get in touch with people we don't even know in real life, building to the art-community through the screen. (Sound very familiar, no? Whoever uses dating-apps and so on)

A friend from Gent shared her window and a link to a profile, then I shared the profile too. And now I share it here. So if you like to join, join. The artist is constructing a digital-space with all the virtual windows he will get into his mailbox. So you will share your private-view with someone you don't know, for the sake of a collective work. It will construct the shared current state we -the ones who send in their content- live in now.

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