La chambre était le portrait d’un estomac vide


with Clara Stengel

La chambre était le portrait d’un estomac vide

76 rue de Maubeuge, 75009 Paris

February 2020

« J’ai toujours aimé ranger. C’est là, je suppose, ma seule vocation véritable. En ordonnant les choses, je les crée et je les comprends en même temps […] Ranger c’est chercher la meilleure forme possible. »
- Clarice Lispector, La Passion selon G.H.

I’m writing from a strange yet familiar place. Strange because the table is gone, the chair too. Familiar because it is home. I am writing from a home that does not feel like home anymore. The objects that were once landmarks in this homescape have disappeared, leaving behind remnants of an uncanny interior, of the exterior me. The intimate geography of my material environment had been mapped out perfectly– I had memorised every object’s coordinates just like I have memorised the crevices of my skin… of your skin.
The room is like the portrait of an empty stomach waiting to be filled. But the appetite is missing, and the coffee tastes extra bitter this morning. Yet, I’m looking for comfort, because this home is my exoskeleton, and its objects are the bones that structure me. Sometimes I wonder if our home shapes our identity or if our identity shapes our home.
In my quest for comfort in this barren space, I purchased the exact same chair, the exact same table that were once here. Placebos to appease the anxiety. But these sugar pills are not fooling me and this space and I have been continuously undone and remade in efforts to render this environment comprehensible once again. And this placebo e(a)ffect is simply an attempt at regaining the world as it was for me before, because I don’t think I have the capacity for a new one. Yet, I’ve gone back to being someone I never was.
This search for order in the chaos of the non-self has led me to organise, classify, arrange my objects, my space, structuring the fragments of my former self, in different combinations in search of the best possible me. Because when we can’t control anything in this exterior world, we can only control what is our exterior self: the home, or the home that doesn’t feel like home anymore. And this way of thinking space is simply a search for the best possible form, the best possible self.

Katia Porro