A TEXT WRITTEN FOR VISION MAGAZINE CHINA – www.voidvision.com (under construction)
ETYMOLOGY = HOME & LESS – IN FRENCH WE SAY UN SANS-ABRI WHAT MEANS WITHOUT SHELTER.
“Home” means a solid shelter, a strong defence to the outside dangerous world, and a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the street. We are able to relax at home and find our sense of being, enjoying the so-called private life. “Privacy” means what we don’t want to expose, which includes physical part like our wrinkles and naked body as well as the psychological part like our sadness, fear, joy, solitude, companionship or intimacy. We can have a leisure time at
home, starting a refreshing conversation with our partners or friends. Besides, it is in our own house that we keep our precious
items such as portraits, our long-cherished belongings and our most beloved garments. It seems that we are strongly attached to our home. Take myself as an example. My dressing room is an important room in the house, while for my husband, it is the kitchen. The dressing room is where we keep our garments, but for me, it is more of a palace of memories. I cherish the memories of a show, a friendship, a moment of desire and a rush of excitement when I bought the garment or was wearing it. At home, I feel comfortable in my clothes, outside I try to be more formal, leaving behind my casual clothes. I want to present new silhouettes with old and new garments to become the person people know me for. “Home” remains a place for sleep; and we have a better sleep than being in a hotel room. We enjoy the security in our blankets, our bedcovers, our cushions and we also have more space on our own bed. We can dream or work at night; we imagine having new jobs, new friends and suddenly we come up with amazing solutions to those newly emerged challenges. We have our mattresses that we care for; they give us comfort. In my neighborhood, many mattresses are thrown away; we can catch a glimpse of them on the streets, stained and marked by an uncertain past, by passion, by love and hate. People travel, to get new jobs, and travel again to a new city where they, hopefully, will have more opportunities and therefore more success. They throw their mattresses on the streets. They are going to be happier with a new one. This is Happiness…
When “home” is absent, people wandering on the streets will look for warmth, for survival, and eventually for some belongings. They search for what they consider indispensable for living in every quarter of the city. They pick up whatever they find valuable from carriages, shopping carts, trolleys or even trash cans where tourists and inhabitants leave their items; they collect garments, bottles, plastic bags, and anything that may contribute to their survival. In winter, they sleep on mattresses they find in the streets; in Paris, where I live now, I see many homeless people; I see them sleeping or living in fashionable districts such as Avenue Montaigne and Rue de Rivoli. They live a family life with their children lying on the streets of Paris. They have their mobile phones with them. Probably they are refugees. But the most tender and desperate homeless people I see on the streets of Paris have few items and they have even fewer day by day. Fewer garments, less hope, less to say, less to carry, less… Covered with their dirty clothes full of stains, they hardly look at you. Not only men, but also woman give up the hope. Fatalistic in their days and nights, they are confused about the time because their natural clock is disturbed by unending struggle for living. But some of them are still collecting objects, mattresses and clothes to build their own “house”. Are those objects, gathered here or there at a special place or a special moment, becoming memories? It seems that those items are selected with due care. They finally become their property. How unbelievably tender! How unbelievably humble! Lately in Florence, I saw a homeless man accumulating paper and plastic bags from the ground, happy with whatever little piece of paper or plastic he found. This is Happiness…