The Museum of Home Touch

The Museum of Home Touch, a participatory installation at Sunset Art Studios. May 12, 2018

As I mentioned in my previous post, during my residency at Sunset Art Studios I worked on a series of cyanotypes that combined physical traces of a home, memory and the physical experience related to them. In these photograms, home could be seen through objects associated with it that physically touched the surface of the fabric or paper and so transferred the sense of presence to the photographic representation.

But along with that ongoing project, I worked on another one that had been on my idea list for some time.  During the reception, the main installation was  The Museum of Home Touch, a pop-up Museum that included objects donated from the community in Dallas Fort Worth representing home. They were objects that have lost their functional value and have transformed into art. They helped define the personal idea of home of people who may live in different neighborhoods, life paths and worlds.

The selection criteria were just that: functional objects by their origin, not broken, but had lost their functional value over time, yet they still remained at the home that embraced them as if a museum: they were kept for different reasons, mostly sentimental, but their emotional charge or aesthetic character had slowly changed them into what we often understand as art.

It was a fascinating experiment that led me to a few interesting observations about home and objecthood. For example, many people misunderstood my request. They confused functional objects with those that are primarily decorative, like a wall display. This made me think how decoration may be seen by many people as functional or vice versa. Or, is a party item really decorative or practical? Is a book functional?

Another telling misunderstanding was of funciton loss due to obsolence. I received some items that looked “antique”. They were great, but not necessary. The objects that could still be found in any random home and be used by some people in their everyday life were great sources of inspiration. For example, a knife. A knife that someone used to use for cutting, but found themselves at some point that they were not using it anymore. This fragile moment of ambiguity in which the object hesitates between functional and “museum” was a special place for thinking on the objects’ transition to their museuification. At some point in the future, the object may very well become “antique” and at that time it will be obvious how they have changed. But I give a special privilege to the ambiguous objects that made us all think and compare our understandings of loss, home and change. We thought how our homes become museums for them, and for us.

In this one-day installation, we brought together our different perceptions of home and visualized a possibility of the merging of these perceptions.

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