By Rachel Hurdley
Assembling Mass remark Archive fabric with historiographies of relations, residence and kingdom from ancient-Greece to present-day Europe, China and the US, this publication contributes to present debates on id, belonging, reminiscence and fabric tradition by way of exploring how strength works within the small areas of domestic.
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Extra info for Home, Materiality, Memory and Belonging: Keeping Culture
Visiting these enabled me to reﬂect on how visitors (including me) spectated and commented on the displays, often talking about their own homes or childhood memories. I interviewed two museum curators and visited houses and castles open to the public in Britain and the United States, to think about the practice of professional curation. I made pinboard ‘postcard collections’ of mantelpiece paintings or photographs on sale in galleries and museums, and also participants’ photos. Other work included giving lectures and presentations to different academic audiences, during which I often asked them to sketch and talk about their own mantelpieces and home aesthetics.
It can signify the hearth or ﬁreplace, but can also act as a metonym ‘to signify one’s dearest possessions’, home and family. This was due to the placing of Lares, the gods of the household, in niches on the hearths, ‘and for them a ﬁre was kept up’. The term arae et foci (the altars and hearths) is common in Roman literature as a collective term for country, gods, home and family (for example, in the histories of Sallust and Livy). Virgil uses focus powerfully in his epic Roman poem, the Aeneid, to denote a funeral pile and the lyric poet Propertius signiﬁes an altar by the same word.
The poetics of home Morgan argued that homes as ‘living spaces deﬁned as such by their inhabitants, may develop a sense of personal identity in even some of the least favourable settings where “home” is represented by little more than a poster stuck to the wall or a few objects on the mantelpiece’ (1996: 182). The everyday mantelpiece – and the practices that go on around it – can be framed by an awareness of the poetics of such things and spaces, making visible ‘immortal ordinary society’ (Garﬁnkel 1988).