Places are experienced in the context of everyday life and are mainly identified with stability
Places are experienced in the context of everyday life and are mainly identified with stability. As Australian professor Kim Dovey states in his book Becoming Places: Urbanism/ Architecture/ Identity/ Power, the ‘sense of place’, ‘character’ and ‘identity’ of a place are considered as relatively stable. Still, Dovey adds to this by stating that the various ways in which places come into being are comparable with the continuous development of change of human identities. (Dovey, 2010, 3) This statement points out that human identities and places are in interaction with each other. Then, we could say that sense of place is a notion that transforms space into a place with variable characteristics for individuals. It is a process of transformation in terms of the relationship between people and their environments. With our subjectivity reflected in relation to a place, we gain a sense of it and, the place becomes a constructed subjectivity. (Dovey, 2010, 4)
As stated, for me, the place that I feel a sense of place for, is the place where I both work and live. Living and working on the campus, I have the luxury of isolating myself from society. I do not have to think about hot water, cleaning, or similar everyday tasks. It is almost like I am in an artist residency program where I can only focus on my art making process and do research about it. I have been in a continuous need for this kind of place, a place where I can work and live and put the problems of daily life aside. Moreover, I have begun to view the faculty as a building where my studio happens to be located. Over time, it has gone out of the context of a university for me. Therefore, while I am working in the studio, or when I am trying to sleep at night, any noise coming from outside starts bothering me and making me feel like an uptight, complaining neighbour. It is possible that this has made me socially distant ‘protecting’ my territory.
Correspondingly, if we look at Abraham Maslow’s hierarchical needs, we see that the need for a place to live or work is one of them. In a way, we crave for a territory, which is defined as the degree of control one has over the use of a place. (Hall, 1969) And according to Gilles Deleuze, ‘it is a matter of keeping at a distance the forces of chaos knocking at the door. (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, 319)’
In this sense, my studio has become my ‘cave’ in the last three years. Ever since I was given keys, I have been working and staying there as much as possible. Due to the fact that this space is given to me for only a certain amount of time made me wanted to make the best of it by staying there as much as possible. However, during this period, I willingly distanced myself from my social circle and it made me question myself from time to time. Even though I experience anxieties at night, this space has become my safe place. After all, to me, the opportunity to have a place to work and live in is worth it.
To this extent, the importance of having a territory is essential. Since the main purpose of having a territory is to gain privacy, it can only be achieved within the appropriate arrangement. My issue is that I have been trying to territorialize places which are essentially open to the public. Correspondingly, a kind of a conflict about this situation occurred within me. Anyhow, the only place I have control over this conflict is on the canvas. When I am painting, it is up to me to make the appropriate arrangement of these places with colours, lights and shadows.