{ synonyms for shelter }


How might synonyms for shelter help in understanding and expressing narratives of human needs?

My artistic, writing, and research practice centres around narrativity, materiality, and the synonym as a means to understand relationships between visual, written, and spoken language. Of particular interest are ideas of shelter and its related synonyms, and how these aid understanding of human needs and relationships – interpersonal and with clothing, objects, architecture. My particular focus is on shelter in relation to illness and the body; the nuances between caring for and protecting from.

My own relationship to shelter implicates my body and its (in)ability to protect me: an autoimmune condition plagued my adolescence, rendering my body—my corporal safehouse—unstable at its foundations, turning against itself, transforming care into attack. My experience of chronic illness is key to my research on shelter—and the failure thereof—in terms of body, relationships, empathy, care.

I propose shelter as a place—or person/feeling/object—in/by/about which poetic images are created, each person’s story a synonym. I frame the synonym in three ways: investigating similarities/differences in human experience of shelter; linguistically, taking numerous synonyms for the word shelter; and relating different forms of artistic expression to one another. Through storytelling, can shelter be better understood?

Some synonyms for shelter include:
Asylum Body Conserve Guard Hermitage
Home Membrane Protection Shelter Skin

Taking each of these synonyms as a starting point for a poem, sculpture, or even a conversation, the concept of shelter is expanded to accommodate the breadth of human experience, and the nuances of needs. These needs and experiences can thus be understood as synonymous, but not the same.


Hannah Clarkson