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— urbantick

Life Cycle – the Idea of the Nest

Image by Donna Schwartz from the series Nest / Before.
The course of the life is what we make of it and it takes many twists and bends. It is for the individual in the present a somehow difficult unit to grasp. The personal finiteness is a constant companion and part of the identity, but not in absolute value. The focus is on shorter timespans and immediate tasks. It is however for the collective an important unit. Much of the stability of society, a community even a family rests on the unit of the life cycle. Generations and the presence of the past bring with them the security and identity shaped through the collective memory. Hagerstrand focused on this larger unit in his ‘Survival and Arena’ (1978) as discussed HERE. His visualisations show how the farm, as such the place, was maintained through the continuos ‘life lines’ of the individuals ‘passing by’, but it was less the distinct individual than the overall character of the sequence that defined the place. However for individuals different aspects or events of the life have a ‘place’ changing character and one of them is definitely the moment the ‘individual’ transforms into a ‘collective’. Of course this is culture based and depending on the individuals character and circumstances, however a certain trend can maybe be described. The concept of the family plays an important role her, but the ‘arrival’ of the child marks an uncertain moment. A moment that will be prepared, but how. Modelled on personal experience, from memory and peer information a tiny little world is constructed, a world for an new individual, a new generation – the nest.

Donna Schwatz, a photographer from Minneapolis, Minnesota, has documented this moment in her latest project called ‘Nest’. The photographs beautifully capture this moment of uncertainty just before the birth of the baby, where the to be parents have the child’s room ready along what they imagined would be the right way to have it ready. The viewer can sense the uncertainty in the air about everything, from social, personal and emotional to really the spatial aspect of the change. Clearly it is a big question what sort of space does a baby need? Even more important what sort of space is the baby able to produce? (linking back to the concept of production of space)
Donna Schwartz combines these images together in a pare with before and after. She goes on to photograph the next also after the babies have grown up and left the nest, once again changing the situation of the parents as they are ‘left behind’, here again also very much in a spatial sense. A very similar situation where the parents are left uncertain to how best use the space. It is no longer occupied with the dramatic scenes of the teenage years but not quite a fitness studio either.
Not too many answers, but the photographs are a beautiful illustration of the pressing questions how to deal with the spaces around us during the course of the life cycle?

Image by Donna Schwartz from the series Nest / After.