What do you love about Minneapolis? What are the things and feelings that create home?
Katie Bachler finished her residency in the art lab at the end of the summer and has been settling back into her home in Joshua Tree, California. During her stay here in Minneapolis, she asked people about the places, experiences, and feelings they have related to home. She recorded these stories on her phone and in her head. People were also invited to make maps of home noting what was personally most important – secret spots, smells of their neighborhood, and favorite places to eat, among other things. In addition, Katie put out a call for submissions and received numerous home maps from people all around the metro area. She then created a beautiful water-colored map of Minneapolis using the details and stories she was told. There are copies available for you to take in the Fritz Haeg’s At Home in the City exhibition.
Katie wrote this reflection on home in Minneapolis:
This map was created from conversations and time spent in physical geographical space. On top of sidewalks and paint jobs and chairs that we sit in, and next to lakes and in lakes, and on top of wood panels and slate and insulation and rebar in three season porches and holding tea, are feelings and memories about why we are here. The reasons a space becomes a place, the secret personal connections that float layered on the everyday. I came here knowing very little, with a few spots of the known, and have spent the month feeling my way through Minneapolis, learning so much, asking questions. As an outsider, I had access to truths that long-term residents perhaps no longer actively see because of the deep routine that happens as time passes.
Mapping home renegotiates ideas of hierarchies of space in the city. What is traditionally placed on a map is determined by the city-the planning commission, the department of transportation, the department of water and power-highways, railroads, parks. Experience then becomes homogenized if one is to simply follow the map. With a map expressing a multitude of subjective experiences of a place, hopefully YOU will feel too that there is meaning in your own ways of being in the city…. there is a physical reality to what we individually see, hear, smell, feel, everyday in the city; our micro experiences of knitting in a special chair, or making homemade chai tea, or having a potluck under a tree in the park, all become a part of the collective memory of the city, that the city itself is not one thing, but an ever shifting and growing amalgam of experience.
A movement towards the hyper local
A movement towards together
Looking at things and wanting to turn them into other things
In conversations in various neighborhoods in the city I found varying levels of connections to a politics of place-making. There are areas where people seem to find enjoyment in the everydayness of walking around the lakes, eating good food, shopping, swimming. These activities define the character of a neighborhood in a way that seems to mean “I live a good life, I have chosen these good things.” In Powderhorn, I found that the people I spoke with had a deep concern with the community in the immediate regions, that specific relationships defined a character of place; the residents of the neighborhood embodied a certain critical intention to the relationship between people and the way we define space; Powderhorn is being actively created, it is a process, an openness, aware of the precarity of life situations. People were more concerned with the question of how we live, as opposed to the knowing statement of this is how we live.
Reasons for being somewhere: uncertainty, a desire to chase a horizon, the energy surrounding change, knowing that one is producing the space (s)he inhabits, OR an externally produced aesthetics of place, a nice neighborhood, clean green spaces, good restaurants, shopping, etc.
How active are we in creating the places we live in? How can ideas of home extend into an idea of the neighborhood homestead, as defined by certain values and commitment to engagement and community?
Home is a politics of everyday life
We are drawn to places for both their aesthetic value as well as how we feel able to engage with their creation.
Homes were on the sides of the Great Mississippi in areas called flats. Places like Lilydale and Bohemian Flats housed hundreds of immigrant families. Floods washed many of these homes away, and people had to move. What happened to the sense of home that was the spirit of the space? What happens to the light and knowledge that is shared in a room?
Ojibwe people said the world began at Minnehaha Falls. Creation. The deep layers of home that existed when we belonged to the earth, when it was one organism, which lived and inter-depended. We are not supposed to be completely self-reliant, we need each other and shared knowledge, and an understanding of the multitude of home in the city.
One of the things that I find so interesting about Katie’s work and practice is that much of it is simply about talking, relating to people, and getting to know what is important to them. I think we often stay on the service when we meet new people. “What do you do?” Meaning what is your job rarely scratches the surface of how a person defines them self or how they identify in this world. I like the idea that getting to know strangers can be an art practice and that we should be intentional about how we relate to one another.
Click here to listen to Katie Bachler’s interview with John Wipifli – Chef/hunter.
Katie will be a part of the closing festivities for Fritz Haeg’s At Home in the City starting Thursday, Nov. 21st. Join us for conversations with Katie Bachler and other artists, stewards, and educators on Saturday, Nov. 23rd at 11:15 am and Sunday Nov. 24th at 4:00pm.