Watch their exciting video essay below.
Designed to Evoke Emotion.
Hidden in an alleyway, the store's entrance is marked by only a small sign. We visited this unique shop and music venue to learn about the space’s contribution to the local Swarthmore community. Though we initially knew very little, aside from what we gathered from an earlier visit, an interview with the owner, Rob Borgstrom, and his friend Paul, helped us to understand the space as a linguistic landscape, or intentional dialectic of language use and imagery.
Watch the Video.
What Makes an “Antique?”
Instead, what counts as an antique, according to Rob and Paul, depends on one’s perspective. Paul noted that the difference between an “antique” and an “old piece of junk” is what someone is willing to pay for it, again emphasizing the role of perspective and notions of value and prestige.
The linguistic landscape that Rob has constructed inspires many stories, some of which we learned through our interview. Even the chairs we were sitting in had a backstory. Paul bought the chairs at an auction, and they sat in his house for two years or so. When Rob opened waR3house3, he realized the chairs would be useful for live music performances, and now they have a second life.
A Multifunctional Space.
When Rob described about these performances, he began using different wording. “Magical” and “mystical” featured in his talk, helping to highlight the transformational quality of the space as a music venue rather than a simply a store. Still, these two functions of the space are closely intertwined: Rob views music as an important part of waR3house3, even when performances are not occurring. He insisted on streaming music from Pandora during the interview, “because it’s waR3house3!”
We were particularly struck by how the multifunctionality of the space serves eclectic participants in the local Swarthmore community, across both the college and Borough. Although, waR3house3 finds the majority of its support among Borough residents, the store owner intends the space to bridge the gap between the the college and Borough communities.
About the Authors.
- Michael Broughton II is a sophomore studying Linguistics and Arabic at Swarthmore College. He lives near Detroit, Michigan, and greatly enjoys playing with his dog.
- Natalie LaScala is a sophomore from Long Island, New York studying Biology and Environmental Studies at Swarthmore College. She’s pre-vet and loves dogs the most.
- Daniel Wallick is a freshman at Swarthmore College who plans to study some combination of Physics, Biology, and Chemistry. He is also from Long Island, New York, and he is more of a cat person than a dog person.