Mark Wittmer

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Mark is a cool guy. His room is laid-back and very comfortable–a chill space for him to do homework, play around with his guitar or hang out with friends. He knows that this living space is temporary so he decorated his room sparsely but creatively with small details like colorful posters and a few cute rubber ducks. When we visited Mark, we admired how he made this dorm room his own space which reflects his chill personality and rich inner life.

How Mark Uses Space

Sometimes I think about my room as a big, real-life version of my mind, just because I can put random things in it and forget about them and then see them later. I like that your room is a physical space with your things in it to represent your memories or thoughts that you have access to.

The furniture arrangement was not like this when I got here. I think the bed was against that wall, but I like it right here [by the window]. It fits nicely between these walls, so it’s kind of cozy and it makes the space a little more open over there.

I guess I spend the most time on my bed. I almost never sit at my desk because it’s too cluttered. When I do math homework I go to the library to use the desk there, which is kind of silly because I could just clean my desk off, but it helps me focus more. I watch TV on my bed, I read on my bed, I play guitar on my bed. I have this nifty reading pillow that’s really comfy to sit on. It was a gift from my girlfriend, which was so thoughtful.

I don’t know if I’m normally quite this clean, but it stresses me out sometimes to have the space occupied by other stuff. I also think that I’m only in this room for a year and I’m going to have to move everything and if I want to keep stuff for next year I either have to bring it home with me or find a place to keep it for the summer, so I have to be pretty selective about which stuff I hang on to. This is topical–everyone is into Marie Kondo, so maybe it’s like if it sparks joy I bring it with me.

Personal Touches

[left] That’s Stu from King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard. The poster came with a record. They’re one of my favorite bands. I take some inspiration from him for my stage actions when I play guitar. He does a lot of weird power stances and lunges. [right] I really like this tree poster. It teaches you the French names for trees. I just think trees are really beautiful and I like looking at it.

I need to get some posters for the closet doors. It’s very white when the doors are closed. I almost never have the doors closed, but when they are it makes the room feel much more white in a way that’s kind of stressful. A lot of my posters are new this year. This room has a lot of good poster spots–a lot of parts. So when I came in, I realized that this area would be cool to have some wall stuff to make it more fun.

Those are my ducks. They were all gifts. Ducks are maybe my favorite animal, definitely my favorite bird. I think it’s really amazing how their wings, the things they use to fly, fold up and let them turn into a little boat, and their feet, which help them walk, power the boat. It’s just really awesome design, so that’s why I like them.

I got this rug for 30 bucks from someone who was just trying to get rid of their rug. It was originally 40, but I negotiated it down. I like blue. I just wanted something to sit on or stand on so my toes wouldn’t be so cold when I get up in the morning.

I have a lot of fashion magazines because I use them for collage and they have a lot of great patterns and weird advertisements with weird people that are good to cut out. I like collages because you don’t have to have much physical skill to do it; you just have to be patient. It reminds me of dreaming because when you dream it’s chopped-up stuff from your day or your memories.


Q: What is the meaning of “home” to you?

A: I think your home is the place where you feel most able to be yourself. I feel I can be myself pretty well in this space. And that can be hard to find when you’re not in the place where you grew up or with your family. Sometimes it can be hard living on campus around other people doing their own thing to find your own space where you can be calm and yourself, but that’s what I’m trying to have right here.

Q: Does this place feel like home to you?

A: Yes, but not in a way where I’ll be sad to leave. I think all of my stuff helps in a weird, materialist, attached-to-objects way. But I think having your own objects with memories attached to them can help.

Q: What object in the room represents you best?

A: My guitar. It’s kind of cheesy, but music is a really big thing in my life and probably the most important thing for me. I express myself through the guitar, at least I want to be able to. And it’s really fun to play! I started when I was pretty young but I stopped for a while. I guess I’ve been serious about it for 6 or 7 years. Something about strings…a piano has really rigid keys and you can’t really manipulate or touch the sound in the same way as you can with a string instrument. The way you can bend the strings and manipulate the sound–I think it’s meaningful in a cool way.

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