Rachel Ghindea and Matthew Teismann of MKC Architects are scheduled to speak at a conference in Belgium in late March 2019. The conference is titled Displacement and Domesticity. As national leaders in student housing, this conference is an opportunity for MKC to showcase two key themes of students living away from home: Displacement & Domesticity.
Displacement connotes a sense of being uprooted. When people are displaced, it involves instability and invokes strong feelings of unfamiliarity, even homelessness. Domesticity, in contrast, implies certain stability and familiarity; a rootedness or sense of being grounded. Applied to the building and adaption of architecture, domesticity refers to the material and spatial practices that are considered indicative of the makings of a home.
Rachel and Matthew are approaching the challenges of displaced living from an oblique angle. Titled ‘Living Within the Absurd: Albert Camus and Social Estrangement’ their paper will analyze the affects of detachment and abstraction through the writings of Nobel Prize Winning author Albert Camus.
From the paper abstract:
Albert Camus’s writing are biographical descriptions of domestic and urban space that provide a stage on which characters become exiled from society which surrounds them. Emblematic of an absurd incongruence between life and the world, his writings portray an abstraction of architecture in vast African cityscapes. An analysis of displacement present in Camus’s writings, this paper interrogates episodic architectural instances as described through Camus himself. Inspired by Albert Memmi’s work on post-colonial theory, and Esra Akcan's melancholy of colonialism, this investigation will deepen relationships between the colonizer, colonized, and domestic space. Living in a displaced world, Camus abstracts himself, and subsequently the characters in his novels, from the reality of these environments.
An Algerian born Frenchman, Camus was conflicted between his ethnicity and perceived home, often describing a complex relationship between the colonizer and the colonized. Emblematic of an absurd incongruence between life and the world, his writings portray an abstraction of architecture. Camus’s works provide an illustrative insight into the post-WWII colonial rubric. As Edward Said in Culture and Imperialism (1994) indicates, “Camus’s narratives of resistance and existential confrontation, which had once seemed to be about withstanding or opposing both mortality and Nazism, can now be read as part of the debate about culture and imperialism.”
An analysis of societal displacement present in Camus’s writings - in particular La Peste [The Plague], L'Étranger [The Stranger], and Le Premier Homme [The First Man], this paper analyzes episodic architectural instances through the lens of Camus’s notion of home. What can the analysis of a particular author tell us about the relationship between literature, colonialism, and architectural spaces of domesticity? How does Camus’s philosophy of the Absurd impact an idiosyncratic narrative and its memory? Most importantly, how does one’s sense of home affect the way they cognize and abstract the reality around them?