Interestingly enough, through my research I have found and confirmed that it is not just me who experienced creating my own secret spaces during childhood. It is a behavioral pattern commonly found in infancy and childhood. Children gradually form their egos and while doing so develop a desire for their own space over the common spaces they share with their families. The instinct is manifested, as I did, through constructing or hiding in enclosed spaces that are disconnected from the outside; such as a blanket tent, inside of a closet, under a desk, etc. This behavior can be understood as the Jonah complex mentioned by Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. It is also called the Homing instinct, a degenerative desire for humans to unconsciously return to their infancy, childhood, and even to when they were fetuses in the womb; as a form of seeking protection and comfort.

The French philosopher, Gaston Bachelard explains in his book, The Poetics of Space(La Poétique de l’Espace, 1958), in relation to the Jonah complex, what kind of images and feelings people require when we associate the concept of “Home.” He states that there is an image formed by the human unconscious mind that remembers their mother’s womb, and similar to that, we find stability in an intimate space that is enclosed and wrapped close to the body.[figure 2] Therefore, he established an analogy that a house is a symbolic extension of a mother that protects and embracesus.

The very first impressions we receive as living beings must be sensations of intimate body contact, as we float snugly inside the protective wall of the maternal uterus. The major input to the developing nervous system at this stage, therefore, takes the form of varying sensations of touch, pressure, and movement. The entire skin surface of the unborn child is bathed in the warm uterine liquid of the mother. As the child grows and its swelling body presses harder against the mother’s tissues, the soft embrace of the enveloping bag of the womb becomes gradually stronger, hugging tighter with each passing week. In addition, throughout this period the growing baby is subjected to the varying pressure of the rhythmic breathing of the maternal lugs, and a gentle, regular swaying motion whenever the mother walks."

- Demond Morris, Intimate Behaviour

According to Gaston Bachelard’s philosophy, the notion of space is metaphysical, and it exists in our memories and imaginations based on the history and traces left by humans. However, when seen the other way around, the history and traces of humankind are accumulated and left in space. The Korean artist Do Ho Suh worked to visualize the past time inspace. He wrapped the surface of the apartment where he lived with white and thin paper and then proceeded to rub it with colored pencil in order to reveal the memory-provoking details. Do Ho Suh said that the entire process, for him, is to remember the experience in space.[figure 3]

“My energy has been accumulated and in a way,
I think my rubbing shows that.
I’m trying to show the layers of time”

- Do Ho Suh