Re-writing Childhood (Childhood Series #2)

The previous week was spent in the visual recollection of my childhood home and neighbourhood, by representing the intangible memories of it through collages and cognitive drawings. Picking up from where it was left, the next step was to develop an autobiographic novella that serves as a brief for a new version of my childhood home, along with proposing a program of the kind of spaces that would be included in it. The aim to develop a resulting conceptual image of the childhood got me started with suturing the thoughts of my childhood and how they would influence the new design of the home.

The intent of the exercise was simple- to provide a new look to an already experienced space of a decade ago. But, the process had to be broken down sequentially in order to avoid entanglement of the thoughts while arriving at the final result. The first and major part of the novella was to use a graphic language to stitch in a story of the childhood memories, which would serve as the incentive leading to the new proposal. The challenge thrown at this stage was to majorly use the previous works, created in the studio exercises, to weave in a meaningful story of the decade old experiences. The thought of it itself felt intimidating, considering how the eclectic range of previous works weren’t created keeping in mind its employment here. Each of them, created to address a different scenario and using different mediums were to be brought cohesively to represent my childhood life. But, then, on realising the long period of time wasted on just worrying about the process, I decided to dive head in and allow the relationship of the body with the past experience to unravel and help connect the missing dots of the jumbled story.

Laying out all the sheets of the previous work, I tried to choose the pieces that would fit the puzzle, just that the final image of the puzzle itself was yet to be discovered. By recollecting the background of each of these sketches, I assembled the ones with a common backdrop together. But, all the sketches couldn’t fit that, considering most of them were not related to my childhood memories or in particular, my childhood home. The small groups of sketches, each being closely related to the others within the group, were assembled together on a digital medium, while the missing links between them were attempted to be filled by using the other sketches or parts of it. Minimal dialogues were used to support the graphic, while the digital conversion of all the sketches into line drawings created a common graphic language for the novella.

One of the Sheet of the Autobiographica: The sheet has been composed from parts across various sheets, based on their likeliness to address the story.

However, the review on the first iteration made me realise how the attempt to create a smooth flowing story of my childhood tale had failed to develop a clear and concise brief for the new design. While elements within it highlighted the characteristics of my childhood experience that I would like to develop on, it got lost in irrelevant details added to it. For instance, in the below image, the intent was to use the journey to the toffee store to depict the congregation space that I notice along the way, which was to be a part of the new design. But, being only a mediary in the main journey that I had shown, it wasn’t explicitly noticed.

The Toffee store story

The development of the brief provided a better picture of the experiences that I would like to introduce in my new design, with the recall and linking of the past experiences easing the process. Further this eased the process of working on the program, that required to lay out the type of spaces in relation to its function and users. For instances, it catered to creating a space to cook and eat, rather than designating it as a kitchen, which allowed for flexibility in its organisation and unconventional ideas for its design. The characters in the story created a base for it, with the spaces included based on what each of them would require in that childhood home. The childhood home being my grandparent’s house that I visit from time to time, the main users were my grandparents and me, with my parents having lesser presence. Thus, the emphasis on the brief was given to my play area and my grandparents space, rather than the space for my parents. The bubble diagram of their proximity and relationship with each other began to create a hazy picture of how the design could develop to be.

Bubble diagram to represent the program of the new design

All this lead to creating a conceptual idea of the home that I would like to create, by taking inspiration from the past, to either develop on the preferred aspects or correct the inconveniences. My memories of the home has been excessively loaded with happy memories and this reflected in the development of the final image, since I didn’t want to part with it in the altered version of it. However, the creative liberty of the process allowed to add my whimsical wishes as a child into the image. Being at the start of the design process, the exact implementation of it was not required to be thought of, which could actually prove to be advantageous later, since the complexities that it would introduce paves way for creative and perhaps unconventional solutions. The representation of the mix of tangible and wishful aspects in the design reflected my ambiguous state of mind in assembling them together, through a collage of sketches on the image that I have of each of the spaces.

While the exercise made me think of creating a new dimension of my childhood home, I couldn’t help but think how the inclusion of the changes would have made my childhood experience perfect. But the thought left as soon as it came, when I realised that the perfectness of it wouldn’t have brought the happiness that the little imperfections in it brought. It made the memories so memorable that even the monochromatic graphical theme does not hide the liveliness of the genuine experiences.

Final iteration of the Autobiographica Novella

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