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Can interior design facilitate remembrance? While the aesthetic and literary genre of speculative fiction projects contemporary political, social, and econometric structures into dystopian futures, speculative history turns this fictional and factual focus to the past. It uses photographs, textual records, oral testimony, and interpretation and extrapolation to intervene in existing narratives. This process involves engaging the absences and gaps in the ephemera housed in institutional archives that work to construct official records of historic events. This text-based essay explores the potential of engaging speculative history as a form of interior design praxis. How can lost narratives, hidden voices, architectural violence, and other concealed historical traumas interwoven with the built environment be resurfaced through strategies of interior visualisation?
To address this prompt, four projects from the studio course Such a Place as Memory are taken as case studies to explore how the interior can be situated between public and personal forms of memory. By intervening in historical records and extrapolating familial histories, each work reveals the potential of digital or analogue tools to counter absences in the archive. Stories of communities at the
margins or subject to violent political efforts are captured through representational strategies of advanced digital software, orthographic drawing, and architectural modelling. In each, speculation, interpretation, and intervention are centred as key
elements informed by theorist Marianne Hirsch’s concept of postmemory. In my reading, the speculative interior and its strategies of representation may function as an apparatus of memory that can capture and relay unseen or deliberately concealed historical narratives into the future.
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