Expanding on OPEN HOUSE, a previous installation that we completed as part of an Art Kibbutz residency on Governor’s Island, NYC in July of 2015, Elena and I installed OPEN HOUSE – Hartford: An Interactive, Site-Specific Installation on the Meaning of Home and the Tragedy of Homelessness this week at the Charter Oak Cultural Center in Hartford, CT. The exhibition will run through January 20, 2017.
Using lengths of black and red parachute cord that ‘shoot’ from the ceiling, corners, walls and floor of the Charter Oak Cultural Center’s gallery to create angles and lines representing the outlines of an abstract building structure, OPEN HOUSE: Hartford, is also a powerful metaphor for the way in which every aspect of life itself becomes fragmented or deconstructed without the grounding of a home. The installation includes 6” x 2’ pieces of corrugated cardboard, or ‘box boards,’ that serve as randomly placed ‘siding,’ ‘roofing’ and ‘flooring’ of the abstract structure. These ‘box boards’ depict in words and images what each individual who participated in the project associates with the concepts of ‘home’ and the tragedy of ‘homelessness.’
Visitors who wander through the installation will experience the disjointed nature of the space and read a community’s memories, connections, yearnings, hopes and realities of home. The ‘box boards’ were created as part of the pilot project, HOME, that we recently completed in Stamford, CT, a wealthy commuter town only one hour outside NYC. Recognizing the power of art to engage the heart and the senses around big issues as well as start conversations and spark creativity in a way that words, statistics and facts cannot, we partnered with New Neighborhoods, Inc. (NNI) and Pacific House to engage the Stamford community in a highly visible, interactive public art project on the nature of home and homelessness and its reality in Stamford.
Below are images from OPEN HOUSE: HARTFORD, currently at the Charter Oak Cultural Center, and HOME, installed in November in the Stamford Government Center, Stamford, CT.