IN THE SAME HOUSE Where a family lived for four or more generation
I never knew my grandparents, either on my father’s side or my mother’s. Most of my extended family members perished in the Holocaust. Therefore, I grew up as a transplant in Israel (like most of my generation of post world war II Europeans), without my grandparents or great-grandparents. As a child and as an adolescent, I always wanted to know what it felt like to know and live with my parents’ parents and their parents. I still do. Because of my background and my interest in how families live together and build a core community, I have come to Taiwan looking for families that have lived in the same house for four generations or more. I take pictures in each room in the house, if possible, but the pictures by themselves are meaningless. By showing a critical mass of homes and by putting these homes side by side, something greater than the individual photos emerges. Thus, a systematic cataloguing reveals the inner connections and secrets embedded in the architecture by those who live in these places, and those inhabitants whose lives paved the way. The pictures will be accompanied by a family tree, a house sketch with the names of the people that are and have lived in each room and an image of the interior of each room as well as a photograph of the family in front of the house. By providing multiple ways to enter and navigate each house I hope to build a more accurate feel and by working in multiple countries I hope to use the comparison to do likewise. Architecture over 100 years old accumulates several generations of family use and changes. Some changes are obvious and some are not. What differences do these lives bring into being? What meanings do we derive from noting how other families have charted their course? One of my tools is repetition. As I am using a large format camera, the process takes a minimum of one hour per room, depending on the complexity and the heritage. Ideally, I visit each house at least six times and have no more than a maximum of twenty houses and families per country. Enlisting the local community support is very important, and helps a great deal in locating families that meat the criteria. However some times creative means are needed as well.