These days, we arrive at “homepages” on web sites, where the very conception of ‘home’ is borrowed from a richer, complex context, emptied out of its powerful currency.
Rumored to be about two decades old, the ‘home’ page suggests a diagnosis of our age more than it directs us to something. It belongs to the new media, the age which continues a search for home, unique to a place that was founded on migration. Etymology tells us ‘home’ is relatively recent, specific to the Western world. There was the homestead, the home stretch and the homeland. Now it is as if we experience a loss of something which we resurrect in language of the new media.
In a world that is marked by migration and immigration, shifting and erasing identities and formations of new alliances, ‘home’ page may be an attempt to claim something that is slipping. It is illusive and elusive, but characteristically for this age, ubiquitous. At once, it claims a home while none exists, invites us in only to redirect us to something else.
‘Home’ pages are gestures to establish an identity. They leap out for a sense of self, an assertion of identity in an era when it is threatened by forces beyond our control, when ‘home’ has become a political term for many, the immigrants, the dispossessed and the displaced. In cultures that thrive on surplus value, “home pages” have become an invitation to vanity.
Ironically perhaps, the attempts to establish ‘home’ pages indicate the desires to write one’s own epitaphs. In an age of talking tombstones and cravings to defy time that may well be a valid reading, for the moment, at least, ‘home’ pages may become spaces for reflection.
My grandfather owned two touring theaters, Usha and Prakash in Satara District in Maharashtra, India. My cinephilia was shaped in these early years. These touring theaters remind me of the magical, communal power of cinema, before its current re-location. Quite common in many countries until late last Century, and still prevalent in many parts of the world even today, these theaters made cinema a truly community- medium, imprinting the consciousness of millions, far away from the glamour and glitz of the city cinemas. Cinephilia shaped in these communal experiences is quite different from the one cultivated in the world of film festivals, streaming images and portable screens.
From ‘homepage’ to the website, opening one’s identity to exposure………