Over the Christmas holidays we were asked to read more books for the upcoming assignments in design studies. One of the books we had to look at was Snoop. Snoop covers the research carried out by the author Sam Grosling in which he can, and shares with us, how we can tell so much about a person by simply looking at their possessions and rooms in their home. According to Grosling, people leave clues everywhere that if you look hard enough can tell you so much more about the real person than anytime spent speaking with them.
For our first assignment of semester 2 we are going to put his theories to the test. To do this everyone in our year has been partnered up with someone random from another course, hopefully someone we have never met. We then exchange photographs of either ourselves growing up or photographs of our living space, as they are without tiding up. After the exchange has been made, and without talking to each other, we have to try create a profile of our partner simply by looking at their photographs. Once we have finished this, we then meet face to face and discuss our findings. This is my encounter...
Having received the email containing the name of the person we would be working with it turned out that my own was and old friend, Szani, from college. Luckily enough we did not know each other that well so we both agreed to carry out the project as if we were strangers. For what we did know of each other it gave us a chance to took what we knew and back it up by what the photographs were telling us.
Szani had sent me pictures from all round her
house. The first one I looked at was of her bookshelf. The majority of books on it were not in English and at the bottom left hand corner there is a book titled 'Skocia' which, from my travelling days, I knew meant Scotland in Hungarian. I already knew Szani was from Hungry so this picture backed that up for me. The rest of the books were in English with some of them being books that we were asked to read for design studies. At the top of the book shelf I noted a Lego game. Owning a similar game to this I know that it is for 2 or more players, I felt that this may have been an indication that Szani liked to have fun and socialize. At the top of the bookshelf there were 2 identical sleeping bags and near the bottom of the shelves there was a Henry's Python. A Henry's Python is a piece of juggling equipment that requires a lot of space do use, usually outside. I began to think that Szani quite possibly liked the outdoors or preferred to be outside and that the sleeping bags suggested that this was an activity she did with someone close. Perhaps a boyfriend or flatmate.
The next set of pictures I looked at were from Szani's kitchen. On the worktops i could see there was an abundance of ingredients and fresh fruit. On the wall there was a full spice rack and bottles of vitamins. I got the impression that she preferred to make her own food as opposed to buying ready made things from the shops. I think she likes homemade food more and wants to eat healthy. The fresh fruit and vitamins backed up this idea. Another photograph from the kitchen showed a bottle of Ecover washing up liquid next to the sink. Working in a supermarket I know that this is not the cheapest washing up liquid you can buy and there is other brands for a similar price. This along with her possible home baking suggests that she tries to cut down on unnecessary things to help the environment, such as packaging.
There is a picture with her dinning room table in it that grabs my attention next. The first thing I notice is that there is two bikes against the wall and there is two near identical cups on the table. The cups do not look like your usual 'Ikea' purchase, they have been bought for a particular reason. I would say certain that she lives with her boyfriend and not a flatmate as the cups look like something a couple would buy and because there was to sleeping bags on the bookcase and two similar bikes in this photograph I think that they are a couple that enjoy being outdoors together. They enjoy spending a lot of spare time together. The bikes could also suggest that she likes to cycle a lot and again do her bit for the environment.
The next pictures I looked at were of Szani's living room. On the wall there was lots of artistic looking fashion pictures, i presumed taking from magazines due to the ad hoc nature of how they had been stuck up. Along with these there was posters and postcards promoting music events and bands. I started to get the feeling that Szani was an open creative person, not someone who would be overly fussy about things, for example as precious as her sketchbook is i think it would be creatively messy. I would link the band postcards back to spending time with her possible boyfriend. Music may be important in her life as I do not see much sign of a television or DVDs. The only thing I can see is an old Hi-Fi in the corner. Other pictures from the living room revealed a gigantic stack of Vogue magazines and a sketchbook tucked to the side of them. My immediate thought was she really loves fashion and wants to be kept up to date with it.
In a lot of the pictures there was lots of fabrics in the living room like a through over a box and a very ornate cushion. I think Szani has used these to give the flat her own personal touch and that she really is into her fashion that it has come into her home. On the walls above the mantle piece there is lots of pictures of nature inspired designs that were very bold and colourful. This helped back up my idea that she loves fashion (patterns and clothes colour). The last picture in the living room is a table full of plants and beside it stands a blow up dinosaur. I felt the plants, and the amount of them, just confirmed from what I saw that Szani loves the outdoor and this is her way of bringing the outdoors inside. The dinosaur shows us that she has a sense of humour and is not afraid to show us.
In a picture from her bedroom there is to things that grabbed my attention. Firstly a giant map above the bed (okay it was not hard to miss) which along with the learning Spanish book from her bookshelf suggests that she is a keen traveller or is interested in travelling. Secondly at the top left hand corner of the wall about the bed there is from what I can tell the only photograph in the flat and that is of Szani and a boy, which I take to be her boyfriend. I decided this as with the 2 bikes, 2 cups and 2 sleeping bags it felt more like a little flat for a couple rather than a flatmate.
The final picture I want to comment on is another kitchen picture. Here we have a shelve that is full to bursting with lots of boxes of different tea. The first thing I took from this is that she enjoys her tea ha ha. Secondly I think that she is a real calm person, her home is a place of Zen like calmness. I say this because the plants, the tea and the fact that her walls are covered in the hings she likes will make it someplace she enjoys to be in. A sanctuary to escape to when things get to much.
So me and Szani meet the other day and
I have to say I was quite impressed by what she had to say and how much I had got right. It turns out that Szani does live with her boyfriend, Daniel and that she loves the outdoors quite a lot. I was really pleased I got this one right as it was the main thing i took from the photographs. Szani does textiles at university but I was a little bit wrong on what i said about the Vogues in that yes she likes fashion but more individual fashion and that she is more into textiles, which i did slightly hint on. She is not that fussed about keeping bang up to date with whats current but patterns, especially nature inspired patterns is what she is very passionate about as long as it is not floral. Another thing that i got right was that she likes to be sociable and have people up and that she has a dream to go travelling but it was just a dream due to cost so I was not to far form that. I was spot on again when I suggested that she liked to do her bit for the environment as she mentioned she recycled as well. As for cooking i was right again, she loves home cooking and is always trying to keep healthy. Finally she agreed with me that she was a very calm person but elaborated and said that shes not very extrovert as she speaks when she has to and that she is very quiet. She can be quite sociable but it depends from group to group.
We then moved on to me and I thought my results were brilliant. If someone had asked me to describe to them me as a person I would never have said half the things that Szani said, not because I do not think its true but rather I have never thought of describing myself in these ways. Szani started off buy say that she felt I was a very open person and that I was friendly and understanding. She suggested that my favourite colour might be blue and it is. I had not realised I owned that many blue things ha ha. Looking at my clothes she said I was stylish and that was something that is important to me. I would say that this I am pretty much correct, just that I would not say i was at the height of fashion but I try to buy things that look good on me and that I like. Due to a picture I gave her that had my Dundee FC pillow and football scarf in she hinted that i was a proud Dundonian which was spot on, I love city! A picture of my bookshelf and wall revealed lots of photographs of my family and friends and Szani said that they were important to me. This is true, I can be the worlds worst at keeping in touch (ask my mum) but I like to be around them all as much as I can. One thing she hinted big on was the amount of alcohol that I have in my room which was mostly whiskey and vodka and she said that she though I liked to party and rather be out than spend time in my room. Well when she read this out I just about fell of my seat with laughter. It is so true, I love to socialise, though it does not have to involve drinking all the time but it usually does. I laughed because she was able to pin point one of the main things about me from a "few" bottles on my bookshelf. She managed to pick up on my love of travelling from my little Eiffel tower on my desk and travel books and VW campervan on my bookshelf. That I love winter sports due to my "In snow we trust" poster and my large collection of Whitelines magazines (snowboarding) that sit on my window sill was correct. Through the pictures of my desk, bedside cabinet and computer desk she was able to see at least 3 set s of headphones which she suggest ment that music was a factor in my life. Again this is true, I always have some form of music device with me or have it on in the background when i am doing most things. One thing that I had never though of much was when Szani said I was practical. The reason she said that was the picture of my television and underneath the table I have a an old Doritos box that I store wires and ariels and manly electrical things in. As i had left it as a Doritios crisp box and not painted it or covered it showed that i was happy to use it was it was, a box plain and simple. Finally Szani had notice that, from pcitures in my bathroom and my bookcase that I was i posseion of many toiletries and aftershaves. She had said that i as someone who cared about their apeearance. Looking at pictures from of my computer desk and television she saw how dusty it was and that I had a good few things lying around on the desk and my bed was nlt made. She hinted that I took more care of what I looked like than I did of my own room. So that when I am outside I have a "mask" on to the real me. I could not agree more with her on this but I had never thought of it like that. My room is dusty sure, I hate dusting ha ha, but they fact when I leave the house I always try to make sure I am presentable. Even when I am having a bad day I will stick my hat on to cover the state of my hair. But when I come home it is my little place to be me and relax. This out ovf everything I was told, this last fact has made me think a lot about myself and where it is I fit in with the world. I like to think I am my own person, love me or loath me but at the same time I know I try to be something I maybe are not. Kind of hide the real me incase I am not liked or that I do not fit in with the people I want to. I know that is so absurd because I like to think I get on with everyone, find the goodness in people when others put them down and yet I feel I have to become someone else, reinvent myself. But then maybe I am thinking about this to mcuh, after all it is only a theory and opinion...right?
**The last 3 photographs are of my bedroom and the rest are of Szani's flat.**