Home. The following projects and essays expand upon and complicate the word—from the house to the territory, from the gut to the cosmos, through time, across scales, transcending place and space. Home resists fixed definitions. It is mutable, plural, and layered. Home is not simply a point on a map. It represents people, stories, and gritty, deep history.
Given current events, the theme of Home felt timely, both for this journal specifically and for the world more broadly. We anticipated receiving outwardly-focused commentary; instead, we were flooded with submissions offering deeply personal perspectives on global issues. These articles and images perform a balancing act by introducing a level of intimacy to the political—a quiet counterpoint to our anxious political reality. If home is the lens through which we imagine the world—as individuals, as nations, as a global community—then conceptions of home have agency in shaping new worlds.
We are in a transitional moment for our collective home as natural disasters, droughts, wildfires, and sea level rise upend entire communities. At moments, the weight of this change presses urgently upon us. California’s devastating wildfires of recent years displaced thousands. This de-homing was temporary for many evacuees but devastatingly permanent for others. Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away from the flames, the windows of Wurster Hall were shuttered against thick curtains of smoke—particulate matter composed of ephemera from other homes, a humbling reminder of the fragility of our own.
Traditional definitions ignore this very fragility and still conceive of home as a house: static, private, and immutable. But like the cover image, simplistic interpretations, while seductive, fail to acknowledge a disparity of experience in a world constantly in flux. It’s time to audit our given definition, and reconceive of home to include evolving social, political, and climatic paradigms. It’s time for quiet observation. It’s time for radical design.
Issue 08 is our start.