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Ecography—Home and House in the Time of Coronavirus

Submit "something" that captures your new awareness of home!


“Home” is now at the centre of the pandemic. With the commendation for isolation, quarantine, or lockdown, as a way of battling the virus, most of our lives are expelled from the public realm. It would appear we are now exiled at home. We have all retreated to a home space as much as we can, in whatever way we have configured a home. Even with some gradual relaxation, we are still mostly homebound. Which only makes home a poignant place, and makes us think it anew. Oftentimes, a thing that is closest to us and we take for granted—such as home—appears in a new light when the rhythms around it are altered, disrupted, or heightened.

We would like to take a close look at this unprecedented domesticity. We are announcing a call for submission of your new reflections on home, with which we plan an online exhibition and forum.

Home has a variegated meaning even within a homogeneous culture, and is never a thing by itself. If “oikos” is homestead or house, from which we have ecology and economy, “ecography” is a measure of that home. On the Parthenon, a striking sculptural pair of divinities—Hermes-Hestia—describes a fundamental human oscillation between motion (Hermes) and dwelling (Hestia). Hestia is related to Vastu from which we have “basati.” Vastu in Vedic culture also means a seat, a palanquin and a bridge.

Home also struggles to settle in a place. A wide range of feelings spans our home emotions—swasti, comfort, calmness, annoyance, exhaustion, anger, unsettledness. Back in 2015, professor of philosophy Arindam Chakrabarti led us through the hues of home, and made us aware of the variegated implications of being at home, or not. Here is Prof Chakrabarti’s public lecture followed by questions and answer with the audience:

While we are in the same home coordinate before the coronavirus, we have now started to see home differently; we now notice minute details of daily chores, the forgotten corner of a room, a wet stain on the veranda, a light through the window screen, textures on the steps. What do you notice in your homespace? We invite you to share what you are experiencing being at-home in the last few months. In the perimeter by which you consider your home, do you now see the homeground in new lights?

The invitation to submit is open to everyone. Submit “something” that captures your new awareness of home — 1 drawing (in any size or medium), photograph/s (no more than 3), a video clip (no longer than 1 min), and/or a few paragraphs (no more than 500 words). Following the submissions, we will curate an online exhibition, and based on the exhibition organise a public online forum with a group of internationally renowned personalities.

Deadline of online submission: September 20, 2020
Announcement of initial selection: September 30, 2020
Online public forum: October, 2020, TBA
Participants in the forum: TBA