"Through design we can change stories"
A selection of sketches inspired by homelessness by Marek Jankovkij.
Camera Obscura – Illusion/Disillusion
Reality is a complex state of elements that exist and have existed, whether that is tangible, observable or comprehensible. Homelessness is a chronic condition of our society, one that is challenging for those whose lives are affected and for those trying to help the ones in need. The concept for the project utilises a Camera Obscura, projecting a distorted view of the immediate surroundings. The observer is asked to interact with the installation, gently pushing and pulling to view the urban setting. The fleeting movements, the colours and uncomfortable view point, serves to act, as a metaphor for another life, a way of observing, and viewing the world around us. Only 180 degrees, but it could be you on the street tomorrow.
We all have worries and fears that are rooted and woven into us, they affect the way we think, what we do and what we say. They consume us, cast shadows on our lives and root us into place.
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
– Herbert Frank, Dune. (Chilton Books Co). 
The response of the textured layers of maps – intertwined with the human form, reflect the fear, anxiety of the self, a person pacing, walking, running to avoid their dreams that threaten to overpower them. The nights act as a lifeline while the streets become the blood running through their veins.
The concept aims to capture a moment when an individual is alone. The in print of their energy is stamped onto an inanimate material therefore becoming a witness of the past, preserving the present.
A representation of a woman removing her make up is expressed in meshed layers. The poetic approach of the form reflects a narrative of removing layers of grief and reality. It reflects the naked self in front of the mirror showing the hard truth. What does she feel, looking at her naked face, the color and dirt of the day expressed in a mask of the soul. The power of what faces her in her hands reminds her of a girl who dreamed of another life with different veil.
As we emerge into life we are normally rooted, protected, nurtured. The tipping point may come to us all where we fall into state of decay, neglect, uprooted and we withdraw into ourselves. We may have all experienced this in our lives.
Becoming homeless makes us feel disconnected from society, friends and family. It is almost as if our roots were ripped from the ground.
Family is an integral and fundamental part in most of our lives, giving us an identity and a sense of belonging. Unfortunately, this can be an everyday comfort we often take for granted, that’s also a missing chapter in some peoples lives.
Social Services have a detrimental effect on young children, resulting in 1/3 of homeless people originating from the care system. Leaving them feeling alone, empty and insignificant.
“We sometimes forget them on a bus or train. We forget them in parks, maybe even drop them in the rain.
We trample on them, push them to one side. Forgetting there was something once inside. Easily replaceable we go out and buy a new pair
Looking in their eyes can you see the despair?”
Without one the other is useless. So how tough is it to get by without the support of others? Trample over them, treat them as an inanimate object.
A journey of the lost glove and the lost human. Two narratives become one.
Were they always going to be homeless? No they were not. You never know what’s going to happen. One day we could be up and the other day down. Transition between wealthy world and homeless is not a big step. Let us be a community that cares and lets look around us. The concept is reflected in the news of the day. Headlines that make and break us, our histories woven into hand-me-downs, ownership lost, memories buried.
Listless eyes are passing by.
Snubs are stabbing daily.
Living half the life you’ve got,
Spikes protect me, maybe.
Ignore the roughnes, look around
My soul survives inside
Homeless people are not living a perceived conventional life, within the eyes of the communities around them. The slice of life that exists sees, rejection, hurt and a lack of protection. This in turn leads to a withdrawal from society,a fragment of their existence being revealed. The outcome reflects the inner soul, with a glint of hope and normality, yet an outer shell that may not reflect the truth, sadness and emotional turmoil many homeless people suffer.
The research investigates communities who live on the fringe of society. Our coexistence and how we interact with space and materiality to create an individual perspective.
The perception of the homeless may be a lonely life in a vague space where individuals living on the streets. However there is freedom without limits, limits without directions and direction without a way. The concept is an empty space, the atmosphere cold. The manipulation of newspaper and cardboard suggests a coloursless environment. The articulation of the materials evokes a sense of loneliness.
The concept of my box structure is that it projects a narrative of the experiences a homeless person faces in their daily lives. It is a montage from day to night portrayed through visual imagery that exhibits the emotions felt by those who are deemed to not fit in with the rest of society. More specifically, the emotions viewed visually in a twenty-four hour time period. These include the feelings of danger and darkness in the night, to the relief yet still a sense of loneliness in the morning. The life of a homeless person can be seen as being emotionally complex, the feeling of rejection amongst the community, therefore the acceptance of their lives in outdoor spaces must be essential. This concept should hopefully raise a better social awareness of the homeless and fit in with the whole hermitage project structure, as well as representing a life felt by an outsider during the day, all the way through to the night.
Homelessness describes the condition of having nowhere to live. Homeless is someone without a place that can be called home. Home for homeless is the city. They spent their time in the street without a direction to follow in their everyday life. The city is an imaginary shelter; the pavement becomes a chair to rest or a bed to sleep.
The Homeless adapt themselves to the city configuration, becoming part of the landscape. They are one thing within the city, invisible to our eyes. We pass by homeless without taking a step back, keep walking as they are an unobserved feature of the city.As an expression of this concept, I have represented the relation and sense of belonging between homeless and the city through a topographic map.Homeless are unseen as they become a fragment of the city.
“The sleep of reason creates monsters” Goya
As a society, we should wake up and try to have more empathy towards the homeless. We should stop passing judgement without getting to know their full story. Very often, becoming homeless is not a choice but an unfortunate flaw in the layers of society and lack of social responsibility.
Exterior Box – Reflections and Fragmentations
We live in a fragmented society where we forget those who walk with us, everyday… Will you notice anything different today? Or
will you do anything different today?
The question I asked; ‘What is the most repetitive thing you come across?’
The pride of young men.
I have layered materials to represent the repetitiveness with in Homelessness. The letters spell pride and are placed in an abstract way. Most of us do not come across the inward facing of homelessness, which is the reason and reality of why young men are homeless. Most of us come across the outward response; The repetitiveness of them asking the same question
‘Spare any change please?’
The repetitiveness of the same response…Our response.
There is no transitionally agreed definition for Homelessness. In fact, there are fundamental difficulties in defining its meaning. Nevertheless, the cultural definition of this expression identifies a person without a roof above his head so therefore, I decided to come up with various words that could be connected to the Homelessness definition and design a jigsaw of thoughts and emotions.
The concept is through primary research using walking as a mechanism to observe/ capture/ visualise issue of homelessness. The investigation leads to a street where a homeless man with newspaper in his hands asked me “Do you see me today?” The experience triggered the idea of invisible communities living amongst us. The response asks the viewer to “see”.
“If you see will you help?”
The concept for the outcome reveals a real image absorbed by the landscape, petrified in paint and grime. The hidden language of the art of graffiti reflects the unspoken crisis many face day- to day, year on year. The image is fighting back, making a statement, demanding attention, in an otherwise faceless world. Will you act? How does this make your feel?
The concept is to symbolise the hidden language of those who live on the streets. The patterns and and shapes tell a story that can be revealed on the interior of the structure. The use of mirrored material reflects the landscape, the hidden quality of the reality. What do you feel about the question?
The idea of combining nature with society the ‘shell’ becomes an object of hidden identity. A sea shell is revealed when it has been exposed, in relation to a homeless individual a personality is only revealed if the correct supportive attitude is shown towards them. Therefore the design is to bring awareness and emphasise that a homeless person is still a human being, regardless what state they are in we should still consider them as one of us. The language of the design is developed by attempting to describe the reality of homelessness by using the shell as a personality and keeping parts of it physically neat while the inner hidden feelings expose the harsh edged way of life.
Aldgate east, contrasting lives, hidden or visible. Some will survive office to a shelter in a heart beat revealing the truth, taking the heat. One area, not one community, can we learn to understand or choose to see nothing, it is in our hands.