August 10, 2013
I gave a gallery talk, Behind Closed Doors: The Psychology of Our Domestic Spaces, at The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago as part of the educational programming around the Homebodies exhibit. It was an honor to be invited to speak at the museum. Based on the feedback I received from the group and the folks at the museum, the talk was a success.
In my talk, I discussed the psychology behind how a house – any dwelling, for that matter – becomes a home, which then becomes living art. I conceptualized our domestic spaces, our homes, as living art because we can express ourselves through them and we are constantly evolving. The factors that influence our identity and perception of home were discussed, along with sources of conflict that impact our well-being in our domestic spaces.
The talk was structured around a model we developed based on psychological needs theories and our firm’s programming process. It is a theoretical model that grew out of our work with clients at the office of Ron Kwaske, Architect, and on the literature available on the subject. The factors in the model are not exhaustive, but demonstrate what variables influence our identity, who we are, and what we choose to represent about ourselves in our homes.
As this was a gallery talk, I walked the group through the Homebodies exhibit as a I spoke, highlighting pieces from the exhibit that represented the themes of my talk. I approached the art from a psychologist’s perspective, providing my interpretation and connection to the variables in my model. I enjoyed using the artworks to illustrate my points, and the audience appeared engaged.
I am working on turning my talk into a white paper, and will publish our model in the near future. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, as I posed questions to my audience members during the talk I will also ask you, the readers, to consider your own domestic spaces. What have you done in your dwelling to make it your home? Does it nurture you? Do you feel comfortable? If not, why not? Does your space reflect who you are, or who you want to be?
Are you at home in your home?
by Ilianna H. Kwaske, Ph.D.