I spend half of the year in the UAE under extreme climatic conditions and temperatures spanning from 30 to 50 degrees Celsius. As a consequence, most of my time is consumed inside shopping malls, public and private buildings, hotel lobbies, and recreation centers. My inspiration for this series came from this restriction.
I realised that I was feeling equally discomforted when I was obliged to spend time in arcades and malls in Melbourne, in department stores in Paris, and in conference halls and universities around the world, where I travel for work.
At the same time almost antithetically, thinking about the binary indoors/outdoors as an experience of expatriation and transience, I came to realise that indoors for a temporary expatriate could mean safety, security, shelter or even home. Nonetheless, the experience was registering in complex split ways in my consciousness. There was something evolutionarily wrong in my social and psychological experience with indoor places. Coming from Greece and growing up outdoors, this is a constant reminder that any indoor environment differs from the place I once called home.
I sought to explore ways in which this notion of views of fixed interiors as outlets to the exterior might reveal internal spaces that inform ideas of expatriation and self in transience. Instead of showing images of sizable alleys, restaurants, sitting areas, offices, or places of recreation, I observed mundane ceiling structures, forms and building ornaments, such as roof outlets and vaults overlooking the sky, in shopping malls and public places in the cities I frequent yearly, occasionally bearing an oculus.
Through heuristic inquiry, critical analysis and practice, I determined that even permanent structures are in fact equally suitable to communicate the lived experiences and identity of someone in expatria and in-transience.
I argue (with my third series), that producing creative parallels of expatriation and the self in-transience through fixed indoors structures involves concrete representational frameworks including: using abstraction/deletion, pictorial strategies, conceptual minimalism, and deeper engagement in metaphor and emblematisation.
My representational frameworks are geared towards the negation of the geographic, cultural, and political meanings these objects carried in their original contexts; and deeper engagement in metaphor that can render these permanent structures emblematic. In that way, they can speak about my personal experience with indoor places and their linkage to expatriation and transience.
The roof outlets appearing in Interiors are metaphors of the social and existential state of being in expatria triggered by any such place and what I think and feel when I am in them. Consequentially, they show that my inner world has a metaphoric, but interwoven, relationship to the interior I am experiencing.
A roof outlet or an oculus relate to my personal and social and psychological experience of the place in the same way that our bodies connect to our mind to produce thoughts, feelings, and emotions or in the same way our society connects to culture to produce an experience of a place: by interfacing.
The oculus is the outlet that connects the outside with the inside, the here and there, the future and the past. Metaphorically, it is an interface linking my previous experiences of places where I lived in the past, the place where I live now, and the place where I wish to live next. A post outside one’s home country functions metaphorically as an oculus. It is a springboard for a different life, but for me it is also a trajectory: an invisible line, an equator that connects previous places registered in my mind as home to the one I can observe now. The fictional space created in between helps chart an invisible map that feeds back to incidents of my expatriation.
These bluish, indoor, fixed architectural elements have personal totemic value. They communicate my thoughts, feelings, and lived experiences of expatriation. They seek to gain an increased social and cultural value proving the slipperiness of the prefix ‘-ex’ in the word ‘expatriation,’ to be associated with individuals in displacement outdoors and temporary things, and expanding its signification.