And still on this past weekend, while visiting Sydney and Wollongong, I had to do some leaving behind and I’ve been thinking a lot about my memories and how they relate to a feeling of home or displacement. In fact, when writing about my relationship with these places and my memories, I realised that they replicate information architecture and data code.
Sydney is a city I lived in for almost 10 years. I spent a large part of my early adulthood there, I did some growing up there, I made a few friends and I studied there. While it’s not the basic core of my OS, it’s a huge patch on it. But seeing as I pretty much outgrew that place, it’s a seriously old package. I love the people there and I can treat the place as a city to work in, but it became quite obvious that I categorically cannot live there anymore. It has a strangling, cold and merciless feel about it, within which I don’t feel like operating.
And then at the opposite end of the spectrum,Wollongong. I went there on Sunday afternoon and while it felt the most familiar place that I’ve been in the last 8 months (since leaving it), it was like seeing an ex boyfriend and realizing that he is still an arsehole – it’s a place that I know and gave a whole lot of myself to, yet there is nothing for me there anymore.
It wasn’t easy feeling those feelings, having those thoughts about those places. It’s not easy having a changing relationship with a very important part of anyone’s identity: one’s place.
[which has prompted me to amp up my support for indigenous and homeless charities]
After this weekend, I’ve come back to Melbourne with a renewed vigour and appreciation, but it also reminded me that my first 6 weeks here hasn’t been easy, because of that sense of displacement from my memory here. I left Melbourne, troubled, at 17. So, coming back some 13 years later, as a completely different person, my relationship with the place is complex. I’m creating a new interface of my place, re-writing over old data, yet maintaining and building on old data. It’s exciting, but a process for which I have no code and ‘last known good’ is not that helpful.
In fact, the ‘last known good’ is actually 10,000 kms away, across the other side of the world in London. That’s where my most recent character memories are and it’s strange to have them as free-floating agents, not tied to anything tangible or recongisable.
I’ve decided to come at this thing with a new outlook though, actually inspired a lot by what I saw and heard at Interesting South. Interesting times indeed.
Update: my box of bits and pieces arrived from London tonight– perfect timing – full of my journals, books, postcards, art materials and artworks that I shipped back here before I left. Sorting through them has sort of consolidated and defragged a lot of stuff!