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‘How can everyday life be defined?’ (Lefebvre) A set of ‘found’ photographs of Apartment 203 provide the start-point for this enquiry into the domestic everyday and its expression through the lived interior. The subject - a friendship lapsed over time and distance, with this friend further removed in living as a kind of fictional character, is reflected upon in an imagined visit that attempts to piece together the life lived now, in this (extra) ordinary interior.
This paper is assembled as a piece of ‘semi-fiction’ based in the unpopulated source imagery (the occupant is not home, but invoked in this reading of the interior) with navigation by means of rationalising approach: mapping the floor plan to determine activity therein, and speculation: entering a first-person narrative of encounter with the apartment, a version of ‘scripted space’ in which the audience is encouraged to walk ‘into the story’ supported by forms of soundtrack that slip in and out of spatial and temporal reference. Across these layers of interpretation, multi-sensory evocation goes some way to signalling atmosphere, temporality and emotional response and situating the reader in the interior or, at least, this game around occupation and identity.
This is the narrative of an interior, as explored through a specific human story. And like the friendship at the core, it is formed in an amalgam of the present, memory and imagination over something precise and static. This paper approaches critical relations between the interior and image, with the form of the visual essay taken up in a playful challenge to how we represent interior spaces beyond the purely visual and, in turn, how they can represent the people who occupy them.
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Mario Praz, An Illustrated History of Interior Decoration from Pompeii to Art Nouveau (London: Thames & Hudson, 1964).
Charles Rice, ed., The Emergence of the Interior: Architecture, Modernity, Domesticity (London and
New York: Routledge, 2007), 22.
In use a map contextualises where you’ve come from, where you are, and where you are
(or could be) going. But with reference only to predetermined pathways and that which is established and legible. It is
a static representation of a succession of formative acts and states. The world literally flattened. Charts are a type of map, but recognised more as a working document. Most typically used for navigation through a body of water the chart plots a unique course
responding to fixed references such as coast line and physical parameters of the moving vessel, alongside dynamic factors such as tidal levels and water forms. In these respects it could be said to deal primarily with what is imperceptible below the surface, with ‘solid’ landmasses a mere reference.
Georges Perec, L’infra-ordinaire
(Paris: Seuil, 1989), 11.
Michel de Certeau, Luce Girard, and Pierre Mayol, The Practice of Everyday Life, Volume 2: Living and Cooking (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), 145.
A critique of the everyday as the space in which all life occurs,
Critique de la vie quotidienne by Henri Lefebvre, originally published in 3 volumes (Paris:
L’Arche, 1947, 1961 and 1981)." "07 L’Invention du quotidien by Michel de Certeau, originally published Paris: Union générale d’éditions, 1980 and translated to English as The Practice
of Everyday Life, examines the ways in which people individualise mass culture in order to make it their own.
Lois Weinthal, Toward a New Interior: An Anthology of Interior Design Theory (New York,
NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 2011); Kent Kleinman, Joanna Merwood-Salisbury and Lois Weinthal eds., After Taste: Expanded Practice in Interior Design (New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 2012); Georgina Downey ed.,
Representing Homes from the Victorians to the Moderns
(Oxford: Berg Publishers, 2012).
Henri Lefebvre, Critique of Everyday Life: The One-Volume Edition (London and New York: Verso, 2014), 11.10
François Penz, Cinematic Aided Design: An Everyday Life Approach to Architecture (London and New York: Routledge), 54.
Elie Faure, ‘De la cinéplastique’ in L’Arbre d’Eden (Paris: Editions Cres, 1922) re-printed in Marcel L’Herbier, L’Intelligence du Cinématographe (Paris: Corréa, 1946), 268.
Rice, The Emergence of the Interior, 26.
Mieke Bal, ‘Objects: A Narrative Perspective on Collecting,’ in Cultures of Collecting, edited by John Elsner and Roger Cardinal (London: Reaktion Books, 1994), 100.
A reference to the fin de siècle poet, Jammes Francis, who celebrated simple country
life, much to the disdain of metropolitan peers.
Rice, The Emergence of the Interior, 15.
Rice, The Emergence of the Interior, 13.
Rice, The Emergence of the Interior, 13.
Downey, Domestic Interiors, 4. 20 Rice, The Emergence of the
Downey, Domestic Interiors, 2." "22 Downey, Domestic Interiors, 2. 23 Rice, The Emergence of the
Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 63.
Georges Perec, Espèces d’espace: Espace Critique, translated and quoted in Penz, Cinematic Aided Design, 14.
Penz, Cinematic Aided Design, 71.
Lefebvre, Critique of Everyday Life, 11
Penz, Cinematic Aided Design, 95, with translated citation of Robert Bresson, Le Figaro, May 16, 1983.