Emese Stork (she/her)
I like pushing the boundaries of the interior design
profession toward place-making rather than space making.
This means that I preferably put my primary focus on the
typology and the project goals instead of on its physicality
because if the theoretical foundation is not established well
the whole project could fail in generating social change.
Can a luxurious hotel or highstreets fashion retail project be
sustainable? I would say no, it can’t be. Even if you manage to
create a sustainable project in its materiality, success is
not guaranteed because the goal must also be sustainable.
Western rituals have been colonised by consumer culture, and the decolonisation could be an essential step toward the needed attitude change for a sustainability shift. But instead of affecting the conscience, again and again, the project gives a practical example of how a sustainability shift without overused sustainability commonplaces could mean the next level in increasing the overall happiness, satisfaction and mental health by drawing the attention of people on their psychological needs and emotional aspects of their rites. Because in consumerism, people’s primary strategy for meeting psychological needs is still consumption. But satisfying these needs with the same strategy we satisfied the basic needs in the first world is ineffective. So, a more sustainable approach on rituals would mean development in the general human well-being.
Therefore, the Museum of Ritual Life has a strong psychological approach to rituals rather than an anthropological one. It intends to guide people on the journey where they can build awareness of their emotional needs.
Rituals are reinforced and deep-rooted. Traditions as the connection with the past are determining rituals. Therefore, it is not easy to form them as part of the common culture, while in an individual’s life, rituals are much more flexible, more resilient and works like a tangible tool to look at ourselves. As a therapeutic tool, it can help us design our own lives and process our traumas. This is the power and importance of rituals. If we learned to observe our rituals, we could be more aware of our lives. And awareness is a skill. If we develop it against something, it affects other aspects of our lives. If we are more aware in rituals, we can use this skill to understand our relationships, decisions, social role, and politics. We can learn to see whether and how a political and economic system serves and does not serve our happiness. If I can learn anything from my dissertation about the impact of the consumer revolution on wedding rituals, then the point is that economic changes are intertwined with cultural changes. And the reason why the consumer revolution has been so successful is that, in addition to being ideologically convinced of the beneficial effects of consumption on society, people have quickly and simply experienced its benefits in their personal lives. Inevitably more of their basic needs were satisfied than ever in the past. The sustainability transition can only become mainstream if people can feel in their bones that the change will lead to real quality improvement in their lives.
And if in the upcoming decades, humanity would be forced to produce fewer consumer goods anyway, because it either chooses so by its own will or because the ecological and social framework of human life does not allow it anymore, then a society, where consumption is still the primary source of joy, is doomed to dissatisfaction and unhappiness. So, cultural change is an inevitable coping strategy. The question is whether we take the step voluntarily or by force.
From a spatial point of view, the accessibility of the site, the underground building’s design challenges and the local community and cultural ecosystem posed the most significant challenges. The museum is located in a former railway tunnel and station under the Glasgow Botanic Gardens. Although MoRaL is a separate initiative, the museum and the park share the same body as Siamese twins. Therefore, I always kept asking what the museum could give to the park as compensation for violating their tranquillity and normal operation by the construction.
Great Western Road entrance
Great Western Road reception
Ford Road entrance
Water feature from the inside
Horizontal and vertical divisions
Emergency exit ramp
I set up an example exhibition as part of my project to demonstrate the psychological approach of the Museum of Ritual Life. The exhibition is showing different inherited and developed personal ritual styles. By browsing the ritual stories and answering the questions provided for each story, you can figure out your own style or styles.
“Reflecting on Your Ritual Style
Whether the ritual style in your life now is minimized, interrupted, rigid, obligatory, imbalanced, or flexible, or some combination of these styles across various categories of rituals, you can examine your rituals and determine if they are meeting your relationship needs, or whether you want to try changing some of the patterns. A good starting place is to reflect on the rituals in your family-of-origin, and then compare these to your current rituals.”
How many of us were bored in a museum at least once in their lifetime? There is a problem with museums if these are not related to our lives. The museum is not an archive whose role is collecting and preserving the heritage. The museum should communicate as well this heritage, establish a clear connection between the past and the present, the society and individuals, and let people benefit from it. Just as in formal education, it is not enough to give knowledge, but make the experience of knowing things.
As Mihály Csikszentmihályi said, it’s a never-ending process of experimenting new and deeper levels of understanding:
“If you are interested in something you will focus on it, and if you focus attention on anything, it is likely that you will become interested in it.”
The facilities within the museum have been selected to support flow experience and encourage revisits both online and offline. The museum’s theme is approached from various aspects that require multiple engagement levels to increase the chance that every visitor finds something for themselves while the facilities overall create a comprehensive experience.