HOME prt. 4 There is something illegal about finding new ways of living

I live in someonelse’s home. I rent this place illegally, because the official renter is out of town, working on a subtropical island. There is something illegal about finding new ways of living. First i squatted now i’m subrenting and i have a sneek peak in someone’s home. What is this home telling me?

Letters in the mailbox are adressed to T.M. I also decided to write letters to T.M, my imaginairy housemate.

Dear T.M.

I don’t really know you, but i live in your house for one month. I am happy that your place is not stuffed with furniture, but that it is modestly furnished. There are no traces of customs of how this place is normally used. I try to imagine how you use this space, and what makes it your home. But there are many open gaps;  the large shelves only support a few books. Did you remove books so i could put on mine? A friend of mine wrote me that he feels at home when he can put his own books on the shelves. I don’t share the importance of my own books on the shelves, but if you did remove books, thank you for that.

I like it that you have Don Quichot de La Mancha in a two book-edition. Two years ago i played a role in a play that was partly based on Don Quichot. We had a very funny poster made:


Basically we asked ourselves the question what we would fight for in our lives. I would fight for the right of public space. The right of being somewhere, to feel safe and free and to be able to use a space with a lot of different people. I guess it was something like that. But that was two years ago. If would be asked the again, my answer would be different. But i have to think about that… Don Quichot lost track of reality and is called crazy, but since we live in times where reality exsist on so many levels and in so many layers, losing track of reality is not a characteristic of crazyness anymore. Crazyness is about not being able to follow someones thoughts, not being able to read someone.

I am trying to read you via your place. I believe you unpersonalized this place. But i do know you drink out of mugs with leopard prints, that  you have a lot of spanish novels and a snowboard. You also own one of my favorite Dutch novels: Vanwege een tere huid by Anton Koolhaas. I love the first line:

Alle ramen van het huis van de eerste geliefde hebben de eigenschap, dat zij er onverhoeds voor kan verschijnen.

All windows of the house of the first love have the feature, dat she can suddenly appear in front of it. 

And then Koolhaas ascribes more human conditions to the window, which makes it vulnarable like skin. Your house is not like skin. It bears your history in it, although that becomes visible through small cracks. The paintings, the mugs and the small note you left in Don Quichot.

Na vz gew. pers nmm beh haar hen. 

VB. Jaloers op haar die in een hutje is geboren

I don’t know what it means, except that you’re probably learning Dutch. Because of the gaps in your places, the white noise, I don’t know where the personal begins and the open ‘free for me to use’ space ends. Sorry if the note is personal. I might be crossing personal space. But i’ll never know. The funny thing is that i feel free to use your home, i feel at ease. But the first evening i felt weird because the neighbours on the other side of the street can easily watch inside your livingroom. I felt the workings of the panopticon. They could watch me interfere in your personal space. But i wasn’t doing anything weird. I tried to watch television, since your couch is positioned in such a way that watching tv seems like the logic thing to do when your on the couch. But I have no patience for TV. Boring stuff. So i watched a movie,  Garden State. And the main character describes home as a an ideal place that doesn’t exsist. You’ll feel at home when you create an ideal home for yourself and other people share and live in that fantasy. We are like Don Quichot, absorbed into our own worlds. I believe home is always connected to nostalgia. And there are probably no other ways to describe it better than to use emotions and human characteristics. I need to make the connection between your physical  home to my nostalgia. And then I can probably describe your home. Here is the filmfragment:

I hope to write an accurate description of your home soon. And i wonder what yours would be.