As a child, we lived in constant cheer and have created many memories that are embedded in our minds that we cherish for the rest of our lives. Some may be prominent throughout the years we’ve lived, and often, by a certain incident or feelings later in life, a memory which which lay deep in our subconscious awakens. Having had a very memorable and playful childhood, it was heart warming and an utter joy to think of all the memories my childhood home has gifted me with for years to come, all memories ignited by the exercise- My Childhood Home.
Upon reflection, I realised that distinct memories were associated with the sense of smell in my childhood home. A potpourri of different fragrances, each one associated with it some pleasant experience or memory. To be able to ponder over these recollections and reflect over them over and over for the exercise, I felt a sense of joy and elation to have the opportunity to drift back into my home- my safe space- just by a scent my nose picked up. To understand the relation of my body with these smells, I elaborated more on the diagram and image of my childhood home which represented the abstract idea I wished to portray through the new design of my house. The diagrams helped me understand the adjacency of different spaces in my house, which in turn created a flow of movement based on experience and functionality. Based on the bubble diagram and keeping the concept of memory-provoking aromas in mind, I started designing my new childhood home. My first iteration of my childhood home was vastly different from my last, and it was quite a rollercoaster to watch my design evolve in the process while still keeping the concept of smells intact.
The first week of this exercise was conducted online while during the second week, we all met in person for the first time, and little did I know what was to unfold. Though the exercise of designing my childhood home continued, it was given a new dimension by peer and tutor interaction face-to-face. I was able to work more productively after receiving their feedback in the atmosphere of a studio. The first day of the workshop definitely brought in some nervousness, but I decided to gladly accept what was to come with an open mind. With butterflies in my stomach, I entered the studio which became more of a home to me this week than any other place. The five days that we worked in the studio were undoubtedly exhausting, but there was a sense of accomplishment on leaving the studio. As an individual, I had progressed in my understanding and method of working.
Our first activity was to fill rice in balloons through a funnel and this exercise targeted time management and team work. As odd as it sounds, it was extremely fun even with multiple failed attempts and multiple trials. Using these balloons, we played a game of catch. Through this simple game that we assumed was just for recreation, our tutor beautifully made us realize that even during such simple activities, we can learn so much about the awareness of our body posture and surroundings. Later, we had our first offline discussion and having had discussions online for all these past weeks, we were unsure how it would unfold. This method of teaching and discussing and pointing out mistakes helped me grasp concepts much faster. Over these days, I realised that doing things manually was much more efficient than working online on a software- drawing things on paper magically became easier than imagining and creating designs digitally. Through the process of colour coding in our iterations of the new childhood home, we learnt how to link the bubble diagram created before with the actual design of our home.
Our next time management activity was called ‘frottage’, where we captured a variety of textures on paper using graphite, and then recreated the same using multiple mediums. The following day, each one of us studied different aspects of different buildings on and near campus. This study covered points like circulation, mass and void, and relationship with the exterior. For our next time management activity, we walked around on campus, studying different openings in different buildings- windows, doors, grills, doorways etc. Upon discussion with my tutors and peers, I recognised that different openings serve different functions based on their dimensions, locations and materials. Through these time management activities, I learnt how to maximise my time, better my representation for easy comprehension and also understand a number of factors that aided my understanding of what I wanted my childhood home to be.
On the last day, to remind us of the purpose and concept behind each of the designs of our new childhood home, we made an abstract collage. This was a very spontaneous activity, and I simply let emotions and experiences guide me through the process. At the end of the activity, I was pleased with the outcome, which clearly reminded me of the concepts of memories associated with different smells in my house.
Reflecting over this past week, I cannot think of a week that had been so tiring, yet so productive and exhilarating. In the earlier weeks of online teaching, it would take me two days to come up with a single iteration, but in this workshop, I have learnt so much about making the most of my time, asking my peers for help and improving incessantly on feedback given. But most of all, what I have learnt through the closure conversation of this offline week was that it was okay to not have it all figured out right from the start, because I have a whole new world to learn, wrongful concepts to unlearn, and a strong community of peers and tutors to guide me and help me better myself. I realized how important it was for me to let go of the image of always being the best, and that to work and show up constantly, no matter the mistakes, was what held more importance than anything else. In terms of understanding my concept of memories provoked by smells, as well as the nature of inhabitation of spaces governed by various factors, I can only say that I have learnt so much, and I look forward to learning much more.