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Asking for advice on interiors - Added to A844 fora

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Hi everyone

I wondered if anyone else has committed themselves to the idea of researching an 'interior'? Please ignore if not in that game.

Has anyone any thoughts about the problems involved in thinking about interiors? I strongly feel that the course materials side-step many conceptual problems by focusing quite a lot on 'period rooms' or materially recreated interiors, as if they are the chief 'object' of study. 

First this begins by asking us to think about an interior as a 'room', as if that were an interior's basic unit. For me, that is like thinking that interior walls have only one side and aren't joint borders between other rooms, communication spaces - passages and hallways - or hidden features (such as servants' stairways or food hatches or a lodger's room). Like museum period rooms it is a static concept. In an interior is a hidden door (like the door between dining-room and kitchen in Charleston, which was hidden at points of its life behind Bell linens when not in use by Grace the servant) a 'door' or not. Is a door absorbed or negated into an the frequently changing time-bound idea of what an interior is?

Interiors are highly ephemeral (they can change within the space of a day) and any materialisation of them is likely to be one from which their major function (living) is absent. Living involves a scenario for human performance and temporal metamorphosis - Vanessa Bell & Duncan Grant liked shifting curtains and furniture about. This could be equated with what living was all about. What kind of static freezing of an interior is the 'interior' we examine, or are we allowed to see such interiors as continually transformed by phenomenologically by perception and/or usage.

My worry is that TMA03 (heavily hinting as it does that Sec. 4 of Block 3 is part of the question definition) insists on visiting a 'material' interior and hence immediately simplifying an interior to its non-phenomenological non-performative aspects. One way Bell and Grant became invested in an 'interior' was by seeing their manifestations of interiors (including the many avatars of Charleston over time and temporary inhabitants of complex human formation as a concept. One way I wanted to look at this is through the association with Vogue and the 1929 publication The New Interior Decoration by Vogue's editors. But how does habitation by people who lived 'in squares and loved in triangles' change the perception of domestic space.

I fear TMA03 ties us into a concept of an interior that is too tangible or based on archival material about space that does not  exist or survive for the ephemeral manifestations of a concept such as is, I think, an interior. I think I can write what I'd like to  without visiting Charleston or Knole (opening late Spring) but the assignment guidance wraps that decision up in caveats about your tutor's views and so on, as if some criteria for its evaluation existed bound to the link to the 'material' space.

I'll ask this then in both fora, and get advice where I can. 

If you can help, please do.

All the best


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