By: Mike Rogan
The Sanctuary of Home
The sense of home a person feels is unique to their own dwelling, not only because it is the area in which they eat, sleep, and ultimately reside, but because they also share a deep connection with the objects and various materials that make up that person’s individual sense of culture. This sense of culture is preserved through these items and artifacts by creating a sense of individual culture that is enshrined and archived within the home. As shown in Queen of Versailles, and through Ann Cvetkovich’s article, “In the Archive of Lesbian Feelings,” these items can be extremely different from individual to individual, however everyone has certain items which they hold dear to their person for one reason or another. When these two sources are compared to the items I would provide for my personal archive,it becomes clear that these items aren’t valued in a necessarily monetary or traditional sense, but rather in an emotional and personal construction of what our outside representations of home are. Although a person on the outside might view another’s object as trivial or ordinary, the value placed within it is by the individual, not by society as a whole. I believe this is a testament to the individuality and diversity of current American culture. This can be shown through my own individual selections as well as through the simple fact that without knowing me on an extremely deep level, you would not be able to guess the items I chose as being exceptionally special in my conception and creation of an archive of my personal culture. This being said, I am sure this applies to most individuals in American society as well. These items show the creative and personal process in which domesticity is created in America today.
The first object I have chosen is a collection of Rogue Farms bomber bottles, which I have chosen because of the sense of family as well as persistence the bottles mean to me. The second item in the archive of my personal culture would be a small statue of Buddha, in three similar poses, representing “See no evil, Hear no evil, and Speak no evil.” It has come to represent personal beliefs and feelings along with a sense of superstition. The final item I chose to represent my personal culture would be a large African themed warrior tapestry that hangs across my living room wall in my apartment. This is special to me as it represents both a sense of lasting friendship and tradition both within and outside of my personal life. The word domesticity, I believe, has taken a turn in the direction of warmth and comfort rather than a household set of role playing rules. The objects we fill our homes with are unique to our own sense of style and what relaxes us and puts us at ease. Through these objects, I believe I have accomplished creating such a personal archive in my own domestic sphere, as most Americans do in their own lives.
The first item is the most recent, but seemingly most special in the sense that it represents a more traditional sense of American domestic culture. The reason I feel this is a part of my “material culture” is the bond it creates with my father, who had collected the first Rogue bottle released, and years later I began to collect Rogue without knowing. Representing our home through its similarity to our name, collecting then bottles brought a sense of pride that we came together as a family to continue and better ourselves. Also in a traditional American sense is the idea of persistence both in American values and the continual collecting of this object with my father.
The second item I chose in creating an archive of my own domestic culture would be a Buddha Statue which I have had in my room, wherever that may be, since I was around twelve. The fact of that it has followed me through four residences has made it a staple of my personal domestic culture. It represents domesticity through my superstition of it bringing me and my loved ones good luck, and through personal religious philosophies I’ve come to see as true in Buddhism. Although I am not a Buddhist, the customary understanding of this piece still holds meaning for me.
The third item in my archive I believe relates to domesticity through strong and enduring bonds of friendship and tradition. The tribal nature and sense of tradition remind me of my father and my Irish roots and its influence on how I view home. It also reminds me of two of my best friends, and current roommates, one of which I have known since I was one month old. It reminds me of the extreme duration of time we have spent together and expands my sense of who I include in “home” to not just those inside the actual home.
This post was completed as part of an assignment interpreting the “material culture” of home, and how objects, keepsakes, and ephemera from our domestic lives contribute to our social identities. For additional information on the assignment, please visit: https://americanstudiesmediacultureprogram.wordpress.com/the-concept-of-home-spring-2014-the-archeology-of-home/