19/12/2012 - 13/01/2013
Karlin Studios, Prvního pluku 2, Praha 8
The exhibition “ Homescape” explores the field of domesticity, how architecture and postindustrial reality influence our way of understanding nature.
The Brooklyn-based artists duo Kristyna and Marek Milde use domesticity and the culture of “dwelling” as a platform to investigate cultural alienation from nature produced as an effect of living in the comfortable interior environments of our homes. In a series of installations and projects of which some have called a form of DIY home improvements, they revisit the role and functions of furnishing, cleaning, and decorating - activities that are employed to produce the feeling of a home within a “white cube”. Homes are usually genuinely personalized environments reflecting the private universe of its inhabitants and their interests, cultural and social status, etc. In The Homescape the Mildes‘ focus on methods and concepts that transform the dwelling spaces to a larger environmental context of culture, geography, and nature.
The current environmental issues relate closely to our culture of living in which architectural structures and urban developments dominate nature. “The Homescape” follows a phenomenon of a new special kind of species “Homo Interius” a contemporary human, who spends most of its life inside a white cube separated from the influence of the surrounding environment, ultimately resulting in his prevalently interior perspective of the outside. Despite the unlimited access to a flood of information, his relationship to his immediate surroundings and the environment is blurred and disconnected. This results in an alienated perspective towards nature with consequences on today’s ecology. While being comfortable in the controlled climate, the interior dwellers ultimately seek to compensate their deprivation of the outside world by contextualizing their homes.
Collections, souvenirs and natural objects brought from travel, found or received as gifts from a friend, art works, paintings and photographs all connect our enclosed dwelling spaces with their wider context, a representation of the world at large. They create indoor visual and sculptural landscapes, sometimes transforming rooms into narrow caves. While these objects or collections are landmarks of the petite bourgeois environment and may not replace the outside world, they all seem to contribute to creating a sense of home by recalling personal narratives of life and other meaningful places, giving us what the architecture does not.
While living inside a walled space is generally perceived as our primeval reality the environmental alienation becomes invisible and is part of the every day and culture. We are accustomed to consumption and the use of things of which we don’t know where they are from, who made them and where they will go after we throw them out. Whilst the system of consumption is finely organized to make it possible to live permanently in a interior capsule, the last thing that is hard to control indoors is the dust that is living a life by itself. By cleaning, vacuuming and sweeping we try to get rid of the last evidence that connects us to the natural world. However together with the dust swept under the carpet our sense of integrity with the environment is also eliminated. We believe that art through the use of metaphors, can have a function and power to demystify the labyrinths of architecture and culture.
In the Do-It-Your-Self project the wall paint industry and decoration of walls are in focus. The artists Kristyna and Marek Milde seek the site-specific color of their home by painting the walls in their living room with paint pigmented with dust collected in the house where they live. The paint made with dust includes the residue of all the activities happening there, therefore it is a perfect representation of the specific color of the site. In the Karlin Studios the entire entrance area is painted with dust collected on site bringing to sight the accumulation of particles that was produced by the dynamics of the space. It is shown together with color samples made with dust from various households that were produced by participants in a recent workshop on the topic in MoMa. In the walled space the colors represent the features of the outside world. While in stores the paints are sold with names that refer to romantic places, seasons and nature, in reality the colors are rather artificial and poisonous substances having little in common with nature, further sealing the alienation of the petite bourgeois environment. The Do-It- Your-Self project gives an easy to follow recipe for making a paint made with dust that may be applied virtually in any interior by anyone who is interested in exploring what color his life has.
The site-specific installation In-Tree-Net made with trees and branches hung from the ceiling resemble pipes and wires of engineering systems that bring vital functions into the building. Trees and their complex interconnection present in the ekosystém of the woods are here reduced to a rigid model of a machine representing the mechanistic approach towards Nature. Pipes that in industrial settings are usually exposed while the architecture in civil buildings usually attempts to meticulously cover in order to create an intact environment. In the In-Tree-Net the pipes become alive pointing at the environmental dependency of the seemingly independent interior environment.
In-Tree-Net critically approaches culturally conditioned understanding of nature, which produces the perspective that nature as such has borders, beginning and end, similar to the architecture and urbanism. Nature here is an element that penetrates not only the walls, but also crosses artificial borders, that divide landscape without a context, cutting through the mountains and rivers. In the In-Tree-Net the organic systems represent an idea of bringing nature closer and the way of its estranged perception, implying a reconnection of a fragmented environment to a whole.
Looking for a Home is a work -in- progress installation in the form of a lounge made with discarded furniture found by the artists Kristyna and Marek Milde in the garbage on the streets of New York. The installation was made for the Queens Art Center at the Queens College Library and was built gradually based on the luck of what was found over a period of one month. The selective mechanism in the collecting had only one rule: pieces were only collected that the artists would have wanted to take home themselves. While the lounge developed into a fully functional living environment and served library visitors with a spotfor gathering, resting and studying, the installation addresses the issue of fast-paced cycles of consumerism and the impermanence and the interchangeability of things, where actual ownership often represents a short-lived affair before rejection. By positioning each object on a map Looking for a Home focuses on the stories of the objects’ lives and their use, adding an enriching personal layer connected to specific people and their environment.
“Living Room” is an ongoing research project, where people are asked to list nonfunctional objects they have collected, which create for them the personal layer of a home. The project, which works with the narratives of objects, started at a recent presentation project and workshop Thoughts on the Living Room at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The visitors of the show Homescape in the Karlin Studios are encouraged to further contribute to the project with their ideas on the subject by filling out the questionaire.