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(Archive) Hearth for the Homo-Cellular

This project was part of DDW 2022

Come by and recharge yourself. “Hearth for the Homo-Cellular” is a resting point that allows visitors to regenerate energy for themselves as well as their cellular prosthesis’. So stop by, sit down, charge your devices, and take a break before your long journey in Eindhoven.

The History and Evolution of the Hearth

For centuries, the hearth served as the central part of the home as it provided warmth, cooking, and comfort. It was the meeting point for the family, appeasing the needs for survival and ontological security. The home, during the pre-industrialization era, was incomplete without the hearth.
As society went through industrialization, the hearth lost its significance as the functionalities were divided among the appliances we use today. The areas of congregation within the home shifted from the hearth to objects of entertainment, such as the radio and television. Like the hearth, these objects have become intertwined with the idealization of home. Becoming an object which gives identity, in terms of social-economic status, as well as spaces that allow for action and interaction which can develop, maintain, and change one’s identity. (Silverstone, 1994) As technology becomes more involved in our lives, our understanding of finding comfort and personal security evolved with the objects we interact with daily.

The Evolution of the Homo-Sapien to the Homo-Cellular

In our information age, we are experiencing another shift in priorities. The hypermobility of the internet and the cellular has now evolved what it means to be human and how we navigate the home space. The phone has become a prosthesis of the human body and mind transforming how we define, socialize, and create ourselves. (Colomina & Wigley, 2016) These little black boxes act as a portal that allows us to disconnect from foreign surroundings, for example, in the office, waiting rooms, restaurants, restrooms, etc., and reconnect with our place of comfort. A “home” away from home. To say that only the physical space defines us is to ignore the digital space’s influence over our formulation of self-identity. It could be said that we have evolved from the homo-sapien to the homo-cellular. (Colomina & Wigley, 2016)

The Hearth for the Homo-Cellular

These devices also need time and space to recharge themselves. The electrical outlet has become the information age’s point of congregation. As we have become a more mobile and nomadic species, jumping between physical and digital space, our necessities and values have shifted from heat to electrical power. This new navigation should make us question what it means to be human today. How do these mobile devices evolve our navigation and interpretation of the world, re-evaluating what our values and needs are today? What does the home mean in the age of the homo-cellular?