The Poetics of Home

We can leave a trace in space – thereby recording on to it. We store things in space, thereby inscribing it, and rediscover places, thereby replaying space. Through our experience of space, we transform it in to place. Our experience of space has an immediacy. We observe not with one sensory organ – but with all of them. Our eyes, ears, our skin, our smell, our soul. It is a potent media.”

Without looking first (or knowing quite what I would find), I squatted down with my mobile phone in hand to take a photograph of the world beneath my bed. After taking a short while to turn the flash on, I was fronted with the image below. 

The image above showcases what is hiding beneath my bed.

The image above showcases what is hiding beneath my bed.

Hiding beneath me as I sleep is not monsters, but rather a storage space – a place I have inscribed with memories unknowingly.

The dull quilt cover and pillow set marked with grey stripes was thrown quite hastily under the bed the day I moved into my room at Chisholm College on the La Trobe University campus. The sheets are provided by the Department of Residential Services for residents, however, I can remember my mum and I thinking that they were boring and lifeless. We needed a place to put them and having run out of cupboard and draw space… well, they ended up under the bed, out of sight. When I think about the memory of ‘move in day’, I instantly resonated with the feelings of excitement and wonder and adulthood that had consumed me in February.

The yellow, smiley face balloons, however, occupy a more recent memory. Having floated under my bed after being scattered around my room by two of my friends for my eighteenth birthday, the balloons are offered as a bookmark in this chapter of my life. After returning home briefly to Darwin for the last weekend in August to celebrate with my family my coming into adulthood, I opened the door to my room to find at least twenty faces smiling at me as they bounced on the carpet. The balloons present me with the memory of pure surprise – I had no idea my room would be filled with them upon my return. They also remind me of how special you can feel by knowing how important genuine friends and the little things in life are.

Lastly, the slippers embroidered with the face of a cat depict the changing of the seasons. Up until a week ago, I would sleep with my heater on, my window closed and my body embraced in the warmth of flannelette pajamas. I would walk around my living areas with my feet covered in these blue slippers. As we move into spring, however, I no longer need my heater on, my window closed or my feet kept warm. My cat face slippers have subsequently found themselves moved underneath the bed – they have retreated until they will be needed again. The slippers are a reminder of my first true winter since I was a child. Living in Darwin for the past ten years meant that we had no need for ‘winter woollies’ as we suffered an almost constant thirty-one degrees all year round. The slippers are a reminder of the late night teas drunk with muffled laughs in the kitchen with my room-mates; they embody warmth, happiness and an nostalgic experience missed since I was a child.

 

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