Sunday, 27 September 2009

Home is where the heart is

I had mentioned a while back that one of the small ongoing projects is one with a colleague at work and an artist, Michelle Letowska. The title and theme of Michelle's project is that of home, people's needs and the urban environment.

Home is where the heart is:
Who are the people and what do they need?

Everyone will have his or her own idea of what are fundamental human needs, and the role that home plays in fulfilling our human needs. Human ecologist Alistair McIntosh has adapted Manfred Max-Neef’swheel of fundamental human needs to give parity to water, food, fuel, shelter, protection, participation, identity, understanding, creativity, transcendence and

As dwellers in cities, we are witness to, and interact with, theoutside structures which most people occupy –tenements, town houses, high flats, maisonettes, bungalows, cottages. What kind of homes do these external walls house? What kinds of homes do those without
external walls of shelter create? How do we live? How do others live?
How does the way we live reflect our human needs and ability to fulfil these? Where can we see that fulfilment in the structures of ourbuilt environment? When does a place become a home?

This project invites participants from across the department of Urban Studies (postgraduate students, researchers, support staff and academic staff) to explore these questions with each other. We invite you to contribute images, photographs, drawings or objects, madeor
found (anything at all!) that reflects your own experience of home. These items will be displayed, as a temporary and informal exhibition, in the coffee area of the department. The exhibition will be a starting point for a discussion on human needs, and the role we all play in providing these, for ourselves and for others.

It will take the form of a found objects exhibition in what is the commons space within our department. A much neglected communal space at the best of times. And that will be an interesting point in its own right.

Michelle (who has a blog at is interested in doing an Artist in Residence project within the department as this should be one of the first projects to explore this further.

With all my travelling back and forth and here and there and ensuing change of stuff I'm very intrigued by this project. It also resonates with a conference one of my friends is organising on Transit.

Currently, I'm favouring the following as temporary contribution:

My mother's layered apple cake. The favourite of all my grandparents' for Sunday coffees, my brother and I failed to see why. But here, the passing of time and some physical distance is rather productive in generating memories. It's currently in the oven in my favourite flat in Berlin, waiting for T. & I. to come back from a cycle tour, just needs some whipped cream and good coffee alongside it.

500g flour
20g fresh yeast
1 egg
80g butter
80g sugar
pinch of salt
1/4l lukewarm milk.

Make a yeast dough of the above, let it prove.

Take a (preferably deep) oven tray, roll out one half of the dough for bottom layer.

1.5 kg sharp apples, sliced and cooked with a bit of water, some sugar and a pinch of cinnamon.

Layer the cooked apples on top.

Roll out remaining dough, place carefully on top.

The top, before the cake is put into the hot oven (fan-assisted at 170C, 30min), is speckled with flecks of butter, some sugar and chopped almonds.

Bake. Smell. Let cool. Smell some more. Eat.

Home.... such a fluid concept.

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