Jiangpu Meng

MArch I

Putting a Mall to Sleep: Domestic Collectives Beyond (Sub)Divisions

Advised by Oana Stănescu

At a moment when shopping, consumption, and networked connectivity are increasingly taking over our domestic spaces, when sleep becomes the last standing ground in our life that is neither reducible nor assimilable by the 24/7 temporalities of the contemporary world, can we reclaim a mall of the past for the sleeping bodies? In a sprawling suburb where lives are demarcated in ever-higher resolution into districts and parcels, gated communities and commercial interiors, parking spots and traffic lanes, where divisions become an instrument of territorial management, can we imagine collectivity beyond isolation? 

In the suburb of Southwest Atlanta, this project considers a domestic collective of sleepers at the Greenbriar Mall. Wrestling with its history as a total-interior of consumption designed by John Portman in 1965, and once a cultural anchor among African American Atlantans for decades, the mall is reimagined as a new form of common, not of consumption but care and regeneration. Destabilizing the readings of the bed as an object and the bedroom as an interior, the project recasts the mall into a planted semi-outdoor garden, a shared “bed-room” for rest. Reconsidering the absolute divide between individualized suburban households and between the closed interior of shopping and the surrounding sprawl of parking, domestic lives overlap and intersect, moving across old divisions, between waking and sleeping, between the collective and the individual. 

Post card image and text