Re-orienting myself in my own room was not easy. Through focusing on Lefebvre’s triad, however, I was eventually able to see my room in a different way. By deconstructing my room into the three parts, spacial practice, representations of space, and representational space, I could understand my room from perspectives other than my own. To do so, I had to remove myself from my relationship to the space. Doing this helped me better understand the spacial practice, or perceived space. This concept includes my day-to-day actions within the space, or, how my body routinely interacts with(in) the space. I soon realized my body moves and carries out similar acts depending on what part of my room I am in. For instance, if I was in the workspace section, my body would be seated at my desk, next to the heater, or standing looking through books and magazines. My bedroom is opposite the workspace, furthest away from the window. If my body was here, it would be either be laying down in bed, sleeping or resting, and changing clothes (I hide behind a tiny wall which separates the two sections of my room.
Once I discovered how my body interacts with my bedroom using the idea of spacial practice from Lefebvre’s triad, I moved to representations of space. At this stage of my Re-Orientation, I decided to photograph my room by a method I have never tried—photographing with my eyes shut. I thought I had known my room very well until I tried taking the photographs. As you can see, some are blurry and disorienting, while others lack a subject or composition of any kind. These new representations of my space are interesting for me to look at because they are not the way I visualize my room.
After photographing my space, I began to try to reconceptualize it through Lefebvre’s idea of representational space. This concept defines spaces by their symbolic form, where the imagination seeks to change and appropriate. I researched the history of Portuguese homes and spoke with my landlord (I live in Little Portugal), and discovered many families would share one home. This explains why my room can be divided into two parts—a wall used to exist between them so more people could be housed. The two sections of my room also have two separate doors and light switches. I began to think of the placement of other utilities in my room, and how I interact with them. The heater is located on the far end of my room, with a window above it. I found that having my bed the furthest away from this wall was a good idea; during the morning, my bed does not get any sun, while the front room does. This way I can sleep undisturbed by the soft sunlight that enters.
This re-orientation was successful in getting me to think more analytically about my body’s relationship to the spaces I inhabit. By really thinking about my room, I was able to discover how I live and interact with it, as well as uncover why I organized it the way I did. I find the act of re-orientation helpful in discovering a new perspective on something you know very well.