Home: Things and Bodies



Presentation / discussion and Selection


Abstract and Poster


Marta Fernández Guardado

Files: abstract, poster, full paper ( = updated abstract)

Fragments from proceedings (‘abstract submission’)’:

Abstract. /…/

Home is the site of our intimate lives/…/. To inhabit a house is to inscribe it in our habits, and while we habituate to it, the domestic falls into the automatic perception of habitual use/…/. The house becomes ours while we get used to the house, and it slowly starts to disappear in the background. As often said, “home is where the heart is”, but if we don’t feel it beating, we may be homeless.

The big and small architectural conventions that shape our quotidian lives can be observed and questioned3. By questioning them, we somehow question ourselves and we open a possibility for engagement and change4. Modifying the implicit characteristics and relations of the objects that take part on our daily rituals can destabilise their meaning, and can bring the estranged objects back to the foreground of our perception (2). Once they are here, we see them flowing free and open to new interpretations, creating a tension between the real and the possible, transforming the context and giving us the opportunity to imagine new ways of inhabiting.

The project proposes the use of alternative medial practices –collected and classified in a catalogue of references– to document and narrate specific domestic scenarios. The catalogue will be applied in 5 different case studies in order to train and sharp perception, and produce specific critical observations about every day rituals. These observations will be translated into different estrangement techniques of objectual specific qualities –categorised in relation to the catalogue of medial practices– that will introduce difficulties on the (re)design of household objects and their relations within the limits of the real, and will intensify their presence avoiding the absurd. The goal is to trigger reactions on the user and produce self-awareness about living practices hitherto hindered.

As the result of the study, the outcome of the catalogue –composed by the categories of medial practices and the related terms of defamiliarization– will be evaluated through the user’s experience. This may prove that there is a layer of meaningful information about real specific inhabitation needs that can be extracted from the documentation of the relationships between space, objects and inhabitants. Findings may indicate specific qualities of familiar objects and specific defamiliarization techniques with which to experiment in the field of design in order to inform the context, open reality to creative speculation and drive conscious social transformations.


domesticity, rituals, habituation, perception, joy, documentation, representation, speculation, object-based study, estrangement, self-awareness, transformation, integrity of living.

In my experience as an architect, focused on the production of the domestic environment, I have always been fascinated with the potential of architectural representation for documenting and speculating about inhabiting narratives from a different point of view than the user’s perspective. Moreover, my personal interest in conceptual and performative art has encouraged me to test other medial practices, not only as a means to deliver content, but also as an aesthetic experience in itself. In addition to that, my participation in several Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) workshops has helped me to refine my perception, and to become aware of my constant intimate interaction with the things that compose my personal domestic environment and my usual lack of perception.