494 BCE, Rome. Realizing that they were crippled by taxes, debt, threat of war, arbitrary laws, and that they were less working for themselves than they were for the patricians, groups of plebians left their homes and cities en masse. They had made up the majority of the population, and without them the patricians were left without anyone to produce food, goods, and create business. They relocated to Mons Sacer, or the Sacred Mountain, and there they built their own society, thus re-appropriating power and culture.
2013 AD, America. Realizing that they were crippled by taxes, debt, threat of war, arbitrary laws, and that they were less working for themselves than they were for the 1%, groups of working class citizens left their homes and cities en masse. They had made up the majority of the population, and without them the 1% was left without anyone to produce food, goods, and create business. They relocated to the New World, and there they built their own society, thus re-appropriating power and culture.
The idea of home and family had changed a lot since the beginning of the industrial age. The vision of that 1950’s perfect family- mother, father, son and daughter- was no longer functional or relevant. The members of the working class living in the New World redefined what a family was. They began to form family based on real bonds, as opposed to financial advantages and tradition. They could marry who they wanted, love who they wanted, live as they pleased. Without wealthy people to work for, the working class could utilize modern technology for advancement of ideas and making their lives easier, rather than running around a poorly-paved gerbil wheel.
They no longer had unreachable beauty ideals and manufactured culture. They worked together, instead of against each other, yet still maintained individuality and respected each other’s differences. Together they constructed new homes more fitting of their new lives. These makeshift homes were ergonomically designed and sustainable, and capable of being taken down and moved when families decided to travel to another location in the New World.
This conceptual ‘New World’ society already exists in many ways. The current age is a divided one- with many different worlds and paths existing simultaneously. Down one path, we have what most would consider normal- a life where one seeks to go to college, take out loans, get a job to pay off those loans, buy a house, settle down, and have a family. Down another path, we have a much different route- leave your home (or, don’t even have one in the first place), forget your obligations as a consumer, have no conventional living structure, rescind the human tendency to get into debt, travel, live in boxcars, tents, huts, cabins. Sometimes this happens by choice, and sometimes by unfortunate economic circumstance. This alternative lifestyle, this nomadic traveling population of the world has exploded in number.
“The New World is Going to Need Houses” seeks to venture down the latter path.
This exhibit consists of three main parts: conceived “New World” home structures, portraits of the members of the New World familial unit as individuals, and projects each member of the group assigned each other (to explore each other as artists and members of a collective). In a metaphorical sense, these homes are not just seen as actual physical structures, but as reflections of the collective as a whole. What was once a structure built in mass quantity by a faceless contractor, is now a deeply personal project built by those who will inhabit it. This embodies the idea of collective construct. All members of this new family, though part of the collective, are individually all as important as the act of construction in the first place. Each individual is valued for their differences in personality, taste, talent, and ability. Together they are working for themselves and each other, and an immediate happiness and meaning- not for the promises of happiness and meaning ‘in the future’, through consumption. They immediately reap the rewards of their work- and find fulfillment and self-discovery through their actions.
This exhibit opens October 11th, 2013.