My response to Assignment 3 (extensions and customizations) is a series of proposed provocations that explore the following question: where is the line between connection and codependence?
These ideas emerged from my own thinking and crystallized in a conversation I had with Kyle. I’m interested in this question about social boundaries from two different angles / places in my intellectual and personal life. On the one hand, a lot of my work this semester (particularly in my thesis) has revolved around this idea of creating private spaces in public.
In that process, I’ve been thinking about intimate spaces like prayer shrines, phone booths, bathroom stalls, ATM machines — objects and environments and structures in public life where we are allowed moments of privacy. But looking more closely at these structures (literally and metaphorically), I’ve realized that while we may seek privacy in the haven of a bathroom stall, we are quite literally only separated by a thin wall from the person next to us.
This idea is also inspired by my relationship with my sister, who is not only my blood relative but also my best friend and roommate. Not only do we share a tremendous amount of intimacy, closeness and history, but we also coexist socially with one another and have overlap between our friends and social groups.
We have a mutual recognition of the ways in which our closeness borders on codependence, and have worked throughout our lives to figure out the ways in which we share and are similar, and the ways in which we are different. (I also found a statistic that siblings are made up of 99.5% of the same genetic material).
Below are three mini proposed projects that revolve around ‘hacking’ my relationship with my sister, automating our intimacy / communication, and pushing the boundaries between connection and codependence.
Provocation 1: Domesticity for Two
The first provocation in this series has to do with the fact that my sister and I are roommates, so we inhabit the same domestic space as one another every day (mostly). We have separate bedrooms with doors that close but there are also many other ways we share and express intimacy with each other within that space: sharing food, sometimes sleeping in bed, borrowing clothes, etc. On the flip side, there are, of course, unspoken boundaries around things we do not do together or in the same space — go to the bathroom, have sex, get dressed, etc.
This idea is a series of domestic objects meant to be shared by two people that ask questions about the line between connection and codependence — where the boundaries between two bodies in a space begins to break down, or at least become fuzzy. I thought about different ways that we could engage in these really private activities not only together, but doing so while having to somehow manage or negotiate the presence of another person. I thought about making something like a shared toilet, but then landed on three things that felt slightly more subtle.