In this lecture, we discussed points surrounding the ides behind the concept of real and fictional space. We spoke about the importance of historical background and also discussed how certain spaces and places contribute to our life experiences and identities. We also discussed the idea of home and domestic space.
To begin the lecture we focused on the idea of home. For everybody, home is often a place where we feel safe and comfortable. This is because we adopt it as a familiar surrounding which we turn to in times of distress. Many of us will spend our lives at home, a place to relax that is private and not open to everybody. The word ‘Home’ can be defined as “the place where one lives per neatly, especially as a member of a family or household.” This further supports the idea of safety in the home environment. Often home is a very nostalgic place. We could feel safe here due to the fact that it is a place that we are surrounded by our family and the things that we own. Home is something that we build upon to become who we are in the future.
This brought us onto the next point in the fact that the home is essentially our roots. It is connected to nature as the concept of home keeps us grounded. It’s where we come from; what we grow from. This can be seen clearly in the film ‘Avatar’. In this feature, kelutral trees are home to the na’vi clans. The destruction of these trees in the film bring complete chaos and upheaval to the natives, showing us the importance of home.
In reference to the main idea of space and place, Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon prison is a great example of this. It was explained that as a form of spatial organisation this was very successful. The idea was that each individual had their own space but within this series of individual spaces, each person had a place. This was seen as a functional hierarchy.
During this time of modern reconstruction, the idea of attempting tom create community became appealing to architects and higher powers. It was here that the ‘Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex’ was developed in St. Louis. As it was compiled of many high-rise buildings with lots of corridors and stairwells, crime level began to rise and management began to fall. This resulted in the housing being extremely run down and not at all looked after.residents began to leave and demolition became an option after authorities realise what state the buildings were in. From 1972 to 1976, after much preparation, the buildings were demolished using explosive means. Ultimately, this was a failure in reconfiguring modern housing.
Another aspect of modernity regarding housing was the creation of ‘Berber House’. This sprang from a very male orientated society. Segregation of the genders was a huge part of this design. The woman’s place in a Berber household was centred around weaving. This division in genders was evident in the architecture of the building. It also showed a form of status and hierarchy. Visitors of the household were positioned in a different room/ part of the house expressing a lower status.
The Berber house was very gender specific and the roles in domestic activity demonstrated this. Gender stereotypes and gender specific activity is still a huge part of society. An old children’s cartoon called ‘The Jetsons’, showed this in their opening credits. The mum in the show was dropped to the mall, the small boy was dropped to school, the father went to work etc. this shows how spaces can influence our personality and identity be being gender specific and stereotyped.
Going back to the idea of community, the concept of home can be both good an ad. A community of people who live in one place generally become familiar with one another, know each others boundaries and are used to one another. This is a good thing as it often creates a place where most people, are able to live in harmony. This then creates an issue for those who are not originally from that space. They are seen as an invasion and are sometimes not welcomed as it is proposed that they may not belong.
This brings us back to the idea that certain places can give us or contribute towards our identities. For example, passports. Passports grove our citizenship and lock us into a specific place.but what does this show about our identitys? Do British people not smile?
Next we moved into the idea of threshold. A well-known tradition of buying a new house is that the husband would typically carry his wife over the threshold as a mark of new beginnings and a new home. This also links to ideas of leaving home.many people want to move home in hope of starting a new life and somewhat leaving your old life behind. As this is not easy to do in today financial economy, often we are stuck in a liminal space. This is when you are ultimately ready to move on and create new identity but are unable to do so as you have nothing to replace it with. The word liminal actually comes from the Latin word ‘limens’ meaning threshold. Leading on from this inability to permanently settle due to any number of reasons, we as a society, are often seen to be more lenient of regular change.
“We no longer have roots, we have aerials” – McKenzie Wark, Virtual Geography (1994)
In the second part of the lecture, simulation was false reality was discussed. To begin with we spoke about a visual created by NASA called LOLA (Lunar Orbit and Landing Approach). NASA created LOLA to allow other to see what it is like in space by entering a virtual space showing a realistic representation. Other artificial simulations can be helpful in everyday life. For example, flight simulations can help pillows train in a safe environment whilst allowing them to experience a range of different situations without actually being in the air. Other simulations are good for experience. In recent months, a series of. 360 degree videos have circulated the internet which enable us to visualise something like a race car driving from every perspective and angle.
With these sorts of simulations, arguments arise that it is deducting from real life and making people lose their reality. Games such as oculus rift and other virtual reality systems allow a sensation of presence to all of their viewers allowing you to immerse yourself in games, experiences and even films. This sort of hyper reality has been shown in films as a concept for years, films such as The Matrix, Spy Kids 3 and Existenz 1999 all show this in different ways.
We then spoke about how place can have identity. Firstly we discussed Disneyland and the method of emotional regulation and how it is unnatural but used worldwide to represent a range of places.
Disneyland is a place that has been man-made to give off feelings of nostalgia and happiness. This could almost be seen as a false perception and unnatural as we are almost conditioned to have these emotions due to the nature of the location. nevertheless, this is Disneyland’s identity, it’s an individual place with strong, well-known specifics.
This brought us onto the fact that some places lack identity. Places such as airports, supermarkets, car parks and other conditional places can be seen as having no identity as they all look the same. These could be described as non-places.
On the whole, I really enjoyed this lecture as it allowed me to analyse the realistic views of how important or unimportant different spaces and places in my life actually are. I feel that it opened my eyes to the gender specific roles within society as well as connecting stereotypes and emotion to specific places such as our own homes.