To re-introduce my “favorite space”, my cottage is my favorite place in my mind, from my memories and from a different time: not in present reality. If I were to visit today, it would no longer be considered my favorite space. The entire dynamic of the space has changed, as it is not part of my immediate family anymore. I am officially disconnected from it as a place of freedom. It exists in my mind and I will use my imagination to discover the space differently. So how do I re-orient myself in a place that doesn’t exist anymore? I will both think back to the time when it did exist and compare it to how I see the space today.
I’ve replaced an old memory. I’ve replaced a space with a new idea of it – and it wasn’t my choice. It gives me a feeling of rejection and loss and I do not want to think about it that way – but if I were to re-orient the space, it would be this way. It is no longer mine, and my body is no longer allowed fully as it was used to – and it makes me hate the space. I’d want to swim to the bottom of the lake amongst the other fish, seaweed, dirt and dead fish remains. Perhaps that is how I feel where I belong after the unfortunate re-orientation of the space. I would look up from the bottom, and see my childhood happening before my eyes – but never able to reach the surface of the water.
I wish I could freeze time and be entirely alone in the space, walk on the water to the other side, and see more of the lake surroundings. I am now being watched and judged by my other side of the family. I am no longer myself when I am there. There are limits and borders to what I can do. To relate to Gomez-Pena in his interrogation of borders and power, it was my home, and my home now is nowhere – it is only present in my mind. Relinquishing my power to the cottage gives me no feeling of belonging. How interesting it is in order to feel belonging within a space – you must have power over it and over your body. The shift in power gives me a feeling of loss of control: something I need to have, to a certain extent, in a home that is mine or partially mine. They have control, they have the power, and they took my ability to manage my happiness through the space. As Sophie Calle emphasizes, “Whenever a system of rule dissolves or is overthrown, the justification for its monuments – at least those which served to legitimize and foster its rule – no longer exists.” My image above sort of mirrors Sophie Calle’s “Detachment” project, where she found 12 monuments, present or historically removed, and replaced them with many passer-bys’ memories in different artistic ways. “The monuments have their own lives in contrast to the official definitions, making meaning in the users’ everyday application and memories.” You could say this monument, from the time I’ve cherished it, is now missing.
Gomez-Peña. (1972). The New World Border: Prophecies for the End of the Century. In Mexico Reader (750-755). Exhibition inspired by Gomez-Peña. http://newworldborder.tumblr.com/
Hansen, Malene Vest (2002). “Public Places – Private Spaces Conceptualism, Feminism and Public Art: Notes on Sophie Calle’s The Detachment.” Konsthistorisk tidskrift/Journal of Art History, 71(4): 194-203.