Week 4 – KITCHEN – Semester 2

CLASS NOTES & MORE:

11.03.2022 – Class Notes

This week’s workshop was my favorite from all the ones I took part in! We got to explore the topic of displacement – the panic-inducing situation many refugees struggle with. Through a series of small tasks, we created our characters and bonded with them through wearing them on ourselves.

My character is a Ukrainian transgender guy named “Angel”. He’s a psychology enthusiast and plans on studying psychology in an academic setting. I quite like this character, though because of so many similarities between me and him, I regret not making someone who would be way more different than I am, since the exercise was aimed at developing empathy – and you can empathise much easier if you relate to the situation. If I had another go at this workshop I would probably come up with an elderly, cis, non-white character.


PROJECT:

PROJECT SUMMARY:

My project is a process of creation of a story inspired by research, as well as by my family members and memories. My aim is to educate myself and broaden my horizons – that’s why I decided to collaborate with my friends and colleagues and collect their responses.

These responses collected on my research cards will then be turned into inspiration for my story – the house and character designs, as well as the chapters themselves. Through trial and error, I’m still learning the best ways of creatively challenging my peers, as well as incorporating their feedback into my project.

As it’s my final semester at Aberystwyth University, I decided to come out of my shell and make the process much more external than all of my previous projects.

This week we’re exploring the tension between two family members. Isn’t kitchen supposed to bring us all together?

23.02.2022 – Research

Articles used for this research:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitchen

https://littlenightmares.fandom.com/wiki/The_Kitchen

A kitchen is typically a room used for food storage & preparation, less commonly for dining. Usual equipment in a kitchen include:

  • Stove,
  • Fridge,
  • Counters,
  • Sink,
  • Oven,
  • Microwave,
  • Dishwasher.

The kitchen is a place universal through time and space, unlike some of the other rooms of a typical western house. Although its design and contents change across the history and different cultures, a house without a kitchen feels empty and devoid of purpose.

A few typical kitchen layouts include:

  • Single-file kitchen, which has its contents laid against one wall,
  • Double-file kitchen, which has two rows of cabinets on opposite walls,
  • L-kitchen, in which the layout of the cabinets resembles the letter L,
  • U-kitchen, with its cabinets along three walls, forming an U shape,
  • G-kitchen, similar to the U-kitchen with the difference of a partial fourth wall in the middle,
  • Block kitchen, also known as the island kitchen, which is a quite modern design.

The first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about the kitchen is the game Little Nightmares. During chapter 3, the player explores a kitchen area occupied by the two monstrous twin chefs, navigating through this large space to avoid being cooked alive…

23.02.2022 – Research + Experimentation (Cont’d)

11.03.2022 – Reflection – Why less posts? Why the hiatus? What is a kitchen?

Hello! This is my first reflection of the semester. For someone who stated that his goal is to reflect more, it’s quite sad to realize that I completely missed it again. For this reflection, I will answer three questions.

Why are there less frequent posts?

The reason is the same as any other time, so it’s not worth mentioning again. Instead I will say this – I will do whatever I can to catch up with the updates, and most importantly I will stop with the excuses. One tiny effort at a time and I will push this project forward – because it’s my last chance to do something meaningful in Aberystwyth University.

Why is there a hiatus regarding the chapters and designs?

The reason is simply because I didn’t have a chance to gather feedback on my cards yet – the “group experimentation” posts. I will bring them to the next class and hopefully we’ll be able to catch up soon!

What is a kitchen?

To me, a kitchen is a place comfort. The smell of a pie being baked, or a soup gurgling in the pot. Various aromas and steam make themselves apparent as soon as you enter the room.

A kitchen is a place full of warmth. Both the warmth of the hot steam, as well as the less tangible warmth – the warmth of family bonds, delicious food and safety.

I associate kitchen with the color red – the overpowering warmth. Not even the coldest freezer will cool it down.

This is only my idea of what the kitchen embodies – it’s one-sided and limited. This is why the group feedback is so important to me – it allows me to broaden my horizons.

12.03.2022 – The Kitchen area in Little Nightmares

Sceenshot from the game

Little Nightmares is a peculiar game. Going through the various giant-sized room as such a little creature, with various monsters five times our size trying their best to kill us is rather dread-inducing. The aim of the game isn’t only exploration, but escape – we’re playing as Six, a little, but rather smart girl trying her best to escape The Maw filled with horrifying and deadly creatures.

The Maw is filled with many different sub-areas, but the kitchen is the only one which I managed to remember well. As I have written above, the kitchen is something I associate with warmth and comfort – two traits absent from the kitchen we got to explore in the game. The kitchen area consists of many rooms, as well as backtracking while trying to evade being cooked alive by either of the Chef Twins. The rooms themselves are very unique – it’s the unchanged interior that we’re all so familiar with, except a hint of unieasiness lingering in the air. Staring at the screeshot I posted above, something feels rather ominous about the place – something I cannot quite name. Is it the lighting? The creature in the middle? Or the fact, that we’re so huge in comparison to it?

19.03.2022 – Group Experimentation

For this group experimentation, I changed the formula a little – instead of giving my classmates free range in providing their feedback, I prepared instructions for this process. These instructions go as follows:

  1. Starting with the blank side of the page, think about the kitchen and the first things that come to mind in association with it.
  2. Next, write down a word or a sentence that comes to mind when thinking about kitchen, and draw something – it doesn’t have to be tied to your sentence.
  3. Now flip the paper. Read its contents and think about the kitchen again.
  4. Repeat step 4 with the inclusion of the contents of the paper affecting your thought process.

20.03.2022 – Character Design

26.03.2022 – Room Design

A Lifetime To Remember – Chapter 4

Anna laughed nervously, suddenly feeling like an intruder in the old woman’s house.

“Certainly not!” Replied the confused woman, before leaving the kitchen to check the door.

Jenny poked her head out of the door, and noticed a young woman dressed in elegant attire stepping inside the house.

“Oh, you have visitors?” The woman quickly took off her shoes and approached Jenny to shake her hand.

“Yes, these ladies are interested in buying the house. I’m letting them see all the rooms before they decide.”

As soon as she entered the kitchen, the elegant woman shook hands with Anna.

“Hi, I’m Ann. I hope my mother didn’t bore you with all these tales of the past.” She laughed and sat herself on one of the chairs. Her pleasant expression quickly shifted into annoyance, as she noticed the cobwebs dangling from the walls. “Mom, I told you a million times to get rid of the spiders. You won’t sell a house like that. Why do you never listen?” She rolled her eyes as soon as she realised, she won’t receive a response.

As expected, Stanisława remained silent and decided to let that remark slide. She filled an electric kettle with water and started preparing coffee for everyone.

“So your name is Ann! That’s quite a coincidence! Mine’s Anna, so it’s not that far apart, haha. So nice to meet another member of Mrs. Przybylska’s family.” exclaimed Anna, trying her best not to mispronounce Mrs. Przybylska’s surname.

A lively conversation ensued as soon as Mrs. Przybylska laid out the coffee for everyone. She seemed to have thousands of little stories to tell while the guests enjoyed their bitter drinks. Jenny didn’t really care for her tales, but the presence of the woman’s daughter seemed to irritate her for some unknown to her reason. She took her mind off the situation by doing what she’s best at – analysing the space before her.

She started with the ceramic’s cupboard, which she wanted to have a closer look at earlier. It was filled with genuine-looking antiques, but that was pretty much all that Jenny had to say about it. The collection was rather eye catching, but so was the hatch on the floor right next to it. She made a mental note to ask Stanisława about it, before proceeding to check the northwest side of the room. The closest object to her was the worn toddler chair, probably used through generations, still standing there to be used whenever her grandchildren would visit. What succeeded at catching her interest was the completely empty, dusty cupboard taking space near the wall. Dust and cobwebs seemed to be the only things filling the spaces between the shelves, and thus the purpose of keeping it in the room puzzled Jenny greatly.

Beyond that point, everything else seemed to not differ from the typical kitchen furnishing and equipment. Upon affirming their good physical state and functionality, Jenny was eager to talk with Stanisława.

“You say that because you don’t remember the things you did as a kid! Do I have to remind you about that time you ate the entire chocolate that was supposed to be for everyone, then put the empty packaging back inside the cupboard?” Stanisława laughed as the conversation went by.

“Sorry to interrupt the conversation, but I’m really interested in this empty cupboard here. Why is there nothing inside? It looks rather reliable, so I’m sure it could be put to use.”

“Ah, yes. I don’t really have a reason to keep it here, but this is where my husband used to store the objects for his maquettes, and I just wasn’t able to put it to use. You can do whatever you want with it though, if you decide to move in here.”

Jenny looked away and smiled awkwardly. A wave of guilt went through her body as she saw the woman’s pained expression, despite her futile attempts to conceal it.

“I know it’s hard, but you gotta move on. You cannot just live like that. It’s not even a memory anymore, it’s all empty. We all feel sad after losing him, but you’re clinging onto the sadness, mom.”

Jenny almost lost her cool, but the sensation of her girlfriend’s touch calmed her down. She got surprised at how much the remark offended her – a few minutes ago, she wasn’t a big fan of the older woman either. She took a quick breath and calmed down, reminding herself of her spectator status in that situation.

No one said anything for a long time, resulting in an awkward silence. Ann sighed and got up from her chair. “Okay mom, I won’t take you much time. I just wanted to give you this postcard from Noah. He clumsily sent yours to me.”

Stanisława got up to give Ann some cake to take out and followed her to the door. Jenny and Anna looked at each other and sighed loudly.

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