Home is ….wherever I am”
In ‘Making a home’ and ‘the Art of home’ ( two recent BBC Radio 4 programs), artists consider their roots and their idea of home:
Becky Manson is nostalgic; her beautiful animated video ‘Remember Remember ‘ echoes perhaps what I have found: that home is a story we carry with us. Perhaps we want to feel at home in our story, so we try to make ourselves feel at home wherever we are.
She infers that people who move a lot also play house a lot, that; houses and flats are merely containers in which we construct our own sense of home – “a movable state we can bundle into a suitcase ready to unpack and reorder in a new location”.
Home in transit may be common now – but not where I live in Wales: A man in a cafe drops his head when talking to me – broken heart’d through a divorce settlement; he is threatened with losing the home that has been in his family for 600 years.
Author Rosie Dastgir says that for many of us home is more bound up with the Soil than Soul, and film maker Clio Barnard says her sense of home is ‘root or wound’.
Home is both root and wound, soil and soul, for the family of the broken heart’d man. His grandchildren roll in the same soil as their medieval cousins, but as they grow up their lives are likely to be far more transitory. Home ownership for the young is a far off challenge. How far can roots grow in a modern rental? What Becky Manson says is reassuring; that bricks and mortar are irrelevant:
“….the moments, realisations and discoveries which occurred within these walls, are significant…..the real moving in process is a mental one”. And Rosie Dastgir says“; Our roots are a combination of many things – from our birth to our work place, where our children are born, where we live, or study, or become ourselves…….”.
Memory plays a big part in our life-stories, but imagination shapes who we are. Home is wrapped up with our identity; so what we imagine to be our limitations and our possibilities shape the choices that we make and therefore the places that we move to. But also in memory and imagination we carry the thoughts of where we came from and the image of where we are going.
Playwright Simon Stephens believes we are wired to be nostalgic and to imagine – both come from the same part of the brain. Becky Manson decided to heal a wound, so she remembered all the places where she had lived since leaving the soil of her native Scotland; she mentally moved through every property that had been her abode, visualising every door, every corner, every window; until she came to the realisation that home is perhaps – “…a feeling or state of mind that isn’t confined to one location”.
To journey through the homes of our past can be at least illuminating, and at best healing. The word ‘remember’ could here be thought of as ‘Re-Member’ . The act of remembrance can be a process of reconstruction – Going back to a moment in time, where there is a wound, or where something in life has been broken – Going back to remember and then repair. So what do you re-member?