The Complexity of the Sensory Experience of Home on the Example of Window

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:20
Location: Seminar 33 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Ivana HERMOVA, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
This paper draws upon an anthropological fieldwork of lived experience of home. By the means of participant observation, qualitative interview and sensory ethnography was examined, how the dwellers perceive, exploit or modify their windows in order to raise the quality of their housing and create a sense of being at home. Window is an integral part of humane dwellings that mediates the contact with outer world to its inhabitants. Regarded as a place that interconnects the private space of dwellers with the public space outside the building, the window becomes a key factor that influences the processes of construction of the sense of home. Although people automatically associate the window with a view (and thus emphasizing the visual perceptions), this paper will show that the sight is not the main sensory modality that influences the feeling of home. Unlike acoustical and olfactory perceptions that the open window mediates, the view can be easily modified. Its qualities are moreover fully perceived only when the other sensory perceptions correspond to it or at least they do not interrupt it. This contribution will show how the smell and sound behind the window create a specific environment inside the apartment. Also the main factors that influence the sensory perceptions of home as a whole will be presented.