This project was incredibly humbling in a sense that I never anticipated it to be. Looking at my “home in the world” from different perspective was fascinating; I inhabit this space and engage with it constantly but rarely do I ever take a step back and perceive the environment that I live in. I was really interested in depicting my home from the viewpoint of a third party, and I was inspired by an EP by artist Frank Ocean called nostalgia, ULTRA, which reminisces on older music and incorporates it with modern beats. I wanted to take the visuals of my home, a very sentimental and profound space and amplify it with jarring sounds to an “ultra” degree.
I took the concept of nostalgia and paired it with visuals of my oldest friend, my dog and the spices that my parents use in their cooking. Coming from a very close-knit Sri Lankan background, the kitchen was the hearth of my home and those vivid flavours and smells resonate deeply with memories of my childhood. In a literal sense, the images that linked with the idea of nostalgia were my parent’s wedding photos, my mother’s perfumes and scents that I associate only with her, a Sri Lankan dish called acharu (pineapple pickle), and polaroids of my loved ones. These illustrate memories in the most verbatim sense of the phrase. I juxtaposed these warm memories with the grinding, industrial sounds of the oven opening, the lighting stove, boiling water, and the barking of my dogs.
Isolation was the next idea that I wanted to explore. As a person who loves their space and time alone, I wanted to represent my own personal space within my home: my bedroom. I took the images of the books and roses on my bedside, white sheets, and the view from my bed and contrasted those with the sounds of a fan turning on, a running shower, a lighter, and stirring coffee to depict the things I do when I look for an escape. These images don’t have the same warmth that the others do and that is deliberate to complement the eeriness of the fingers typing on the keyboard and the ticking clock.
Belonging was the next concept that I wanted to portray through audio and visuals. Growing up in a very religious and conservative household, identifying with the LGBTIQIA+ community was difficult, and coming out was gruelling. My very loving family eventually came around and gave me a sense of belonging and I wanted to convey that. The image of the pride flag, the image of my dad engaging in a culturally “masculine” activity such as fishing, my mums sewing machine, and the horseshoes that my mum carried down the aisle are symbols of my belonging within my own home, complemented by the sounds of hymns, the news, a sewing machine, and a door unlocking.
Sanctuary was the final concept that I wanted to illustrate in the home, and I did this through using visuals and audio that make the audience feel simultaneously alert and safe. The light turning off and the curtains drawing shut can convey the feeling of keeping something out, or alternatively keeping something in. I used the sound of the smoke alarm, birds chirping, a window being pulled open and a door being shut and clashed them with warm and cozy images of knitting yarn, handmade quilts, the pictures on the fridge, and paintings on the walls.
The overall feedback from the class was that the exhibition was very sentimental, yet still effective.