Home, for me, is as unattainable as a perfect lover. The concept itself hides, veiled deep in hopes and dreams- a shillouetted form, impossible to construct in detail, and never reachable. To generate physical space that would allow me to feel anchored to as my 'from'- it seems to be a mirage.

Physical beings have a physical origin. What happens when you are born within the ellipses- a non space? 

Place of origin is sacred and meant to explain a wide degree of who we fundementally are. It can and usually does define our cultural default settings. Origin is the place that understands us and a space that accepts us on grounds as simple and as unbreakable as being 'from' it.

Land is an extremely powerful human bond.

It gives cause for war and unites people. 

In our ever changing human geography the entire concept of 'from' has become far more complex.

From is losing its ability to be defined.

I was born 'displaced'. Born in Vienna, Austria as an American citizen, to non-profit working parents, I lived among and was raised along side refugees (forcibly displaced people) from the entire world. 

We shared changing tables and went to the same child care, sang the same songs, we were living a shared life, as displaced people in a society that did not welcome us. The space we knew as home was telling us to go home; it refused to be our 'from'. 

If it is not where you are, if it is not where you are born, the value of physical space as a part of our identity begins to be redefined. 

For years I found myself trapped, hurt that I could not answer the question of home. It hit a chord so deep. I felt like an instrument missing a string of my identity, and the chord was incomplete. The songs were incomplete.

It was a fracture I could not shake or reconcile. 

20 something years too late, I was introduced to Alain de Botton's book The Architecture of Happiness' . In his writing he spoke of home, of buildings as things that draw out the good in us. That there was such a thing as physical space that draws us to itself- and even more so, asked us to engage our deeper selves.  

I fell in love with architectural design. I fell in love with context. I found freedom in the beauty and potential of buildings and space. There is life that can exist in structure and land, and it is silently more powerful and flows deeper than human borders and legal documents.

It is the structures and the natural scapes that have lasted through time keeping our secrets, our photos, our memories, our thoughts, our whispers, our glances, and our shouts. 

When asked, I felt conceptually homeless. As an adult I have recognized that I took pieces of physical places and my moments, and I quilted them into a capsule of memories spread around the world. This widely spread physical space holds my story, my home.

This home has anchored me and shaped my worldview, my friendships, my life trajectory, and my art.                

My from:

It is in the survived downtown of Vienna, the uncomfortable blue seats of the Badner Bahn, the van I passengered through the southern savannah of Kenya. It is in the sun filled compound of Bangalore, and the cobble streets of Malta, the Greenway of Minneapolis, the small corner cafe where I met my friend family, the corn fields of Indiana, the cliffs of Tijuana, and the Jungle north of Hato Mayor in the Dominican.

It is in the places that defined me, that became parts of my story and my anchors. 

My home keeps growing. 

Sarah AlbinsonComment