Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Veil House

My Great Aunt lived in the house that I was exploring in the Koroit Series, which formed part of the body of work These are the things that hold me here, (a house, a vessel, as shell, a ring). I always remember her sitting on the same chair, which had a patchwork crochet rug over it. She seemed to be framed by the rug.

Nancy Mairs, in an essay "Reading Houses; Writing Lives" writes:

The body is a dwelling place, as the Anglo Saxons knew in naming it BANHUS (bonehouse) and LICHAMA ( bodyhome), and the homeliness of it's nature is even livelier for a woman than for a man... And it is as a body that one inhabits the past and it inhabits one's body...
...But over and beyond our memories, the house that we were born in is psychically inscribed in us. It is a group of organic habits...The word habit is too worn a word to express this passionate liaison of our bodies, which do not forget, with an unforgettable house.

Mairs goes on to state:

Bachelard tells us, memory "does not record concrete duration"; rather, "we think we know ourselves in time, when all we know is a sequence of fixations in the spaces of the being's stability." Memory itself is essentially spatial...

In the same article Mairs quotes Maurice Merleau-Ponty:

...to give the past not a survival, which is the hypocritical form of forgetfulness, but a new life, which is the noble form of memory.

"Reading House; Writing Lives" Nancy Mairs
Frontiers Vol. X. no.3. 1989

click on image to see more detail