Home sweet home
“My home is my castle“, a famous saying that is linked to the English culture of privacy….
My home means my house at least in England, in Cambridge all the more where it’s all about houses…
What else can be one’s home? Where do people from all over the world feel homely in Cambridge and why?
Or is their „home“ still (in) their home country? And if so, why and if not so, why not?
Do people from abroad – followers in particular, spending much more time at home than their working partners and inviting other followers (and their children) to meet up in their houses – think as much about their homes as local people do or even more or just in a different way?
“Home sweet home” is a (self)ironic investigation about privacy in a world of control and public survey, about one’s need for feeling at home abroad, about different ways to fulfil this need as existing networks (toddler groups, nct-groups) and other more individual collectives followers join in or set up?
And over all, what does/can “home” mean in Cambridge as a transient University city and a global village at the same time?
Public tours through private homes will be done and seemingly private ones through public spaces.
How many have been sitting there. Some have been told about. Some have found the place by themselves. And showed it to others. In the evening drunk students wiggle past it. During the day shoppers rush by. Tourists take notice of it. Because of the stone it is built of. The holy father lives in there. And all his children may come in. The small and the
big ones. And take a break.
There is a corner for the small ones. They have to be looked after by those who are called carers. Most come at lunch time. Meet up with a friend and her children. Try to be early. End up being late. A constant noise of text signals. Women kissing each other’s cheeks. Unwrapping their little ones. Trying to get something said meanwhile. In a language that
still has to be built up. Layer by layer. Half term. All highchairs taken.
Pushchairs of all styles, sizes and colours everywhere. Squeezed between busy tables. It’s said on a sign to put them aside. Would you please. Carers can’t care all the time. Feeding noises. Please, don’t. One more, sweetie. Tu n’en veux plus? Zuerst Lunch, dann spielen! There is much more to be heard. If she could only write it down. She came here in the very beginning.
Did somebody tell her? She can’t remember. Then forgot about it. Came again
later. Came every week. Started calling it the “Kindercafé” (sometimes as well
“Kirchencafé” knowing it might be mixed up with another café in town where the
holy father lives in, too). Would never go there without children. Feeling very
ungrateful thinking this way. Lots of people go there without children. Despite
all the children. As if there weren’t any. Having a chat. For their lunch break. Others seem to come because of all the children. They like to be reminded of the time when they had their own ones. Enjoy them! each of their smiling faces say to the women getting their worried faces watching a starting fight at the playhouse in the corner, whilst sipping their espresso. Miserable moments. Lost in dark motherhood. Big minds growing anywhere else in town. Some having their own trees for centuries. A universe in itself. As if there wasn’t any university at all. Magic moments. Mozart playing. Almost all mothers gone.
The stones on the walls being warm and welcoming. The serving ladies being
pleased to see her and the child. What’s his name and how old is he? They can’t
remember. Too many who come and who leave again. How many have been sitting there
whilst it was raining outside….
Almost every Monday morning I slip out of the house – whilst my partner and the boys are still sleeping – and get down to the riverside.
Sitting on my favourite bench opposite of the boat houses and having my coffee to go, I press the button of my little digital recorder and start recording people getting to work on their bikes, joggers running by (with their headsets on), others walking their dogs (and/or their children), the rowers launching their boats, the cows being fed, the houseboats being cleaned…
I do not only record what is going on and by but also comment it in a mix of English and German.
The path along the Cam is an inspiring link between urban and rural Cambridge as well as between work and leisure. It is an area of transition as so many other areas in Cambridge.
And yet there are elements of tradition and continuity as the rowing clubs, etc.
An installation of the recordings is planned.
Who likes can join in, either with own sound tracks of the river side or with any other artistic medium showing a personal view of the floating river area!…
Elke Papp (June 2011)