Christiane Holzheid

Roommates / your space / my space / our space?

In RESEARCH QUESTIONS on March 30, 2009 at 9:24 am

I went to five different apartments, where roommates share a space.

It actually all started that my roommate and I somehow without ever talking about divided the table into two. I never sit on her side… it is rather strange. Things just happened in a way, but we never talked about it.

So I wondered how in roommate situation people share their belonging. How do you keep your things private, or maybe you don’t even need to or want to. What do you share… where is the line… what duties does everyone have… you talk about it… ?

So I invaded their private space with a video and photo camera and asked them all a set of questions. At the end of each session I took a few photos, especially the fridges and then asked them for a portrait with their most private object which they would never want to share with a roommate.

I made a rough floor plan of the apartment/house

I am still working with the footage, but here is a little taste.

The questionnaire:

being a roommate – having a roommate

the art of living together with best friends, strangers, foreigners, bankers, musicians, … how do you still feel comfortable, have privacy or don’t you…

– Say your name and city you live in
– How long have you lived in this apartment
– Are you the lease holder, landlord, subletter
– How many people live here
– What is the shortest amount of time that someone lived here

Common area – living room
– How about privacy / common areas / rules
– Do you have a common area
– How much of your private belongings are in this area
– How do you keep your things separate from everybody else’s  – or do you share everything
– Do you buy things together for the common area. How do you handle this?

– How are things divided in the kitchen, do you have your own shelfs…. plates, cups…
– How about the fridge? Do you share, have labels, do you shop together. Do you eat your roommates food?

– Do you share a bathroom? How are things divided

– Do you have cleaning rules
– What about the dishes
– The trash
– Is there anything else that might be different, pleasant, horrible, strange…. here than to any other living situation you ever   experienced… or in general something you would like to add

First apartment


liz2 chris1 mat1 julia1 michael1 erin1

how I am going to portray all of this I am not sure yet. I am going to edit the video in the next days. I actually can’t wait to do it.


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