A House, A Home
11 April - 2 May 2008
Curated by Dr John Storey
A house is a place with geographic coordinates. It is a material constellation of objects and artefacts and functions like a machine consuming energy. Home is a metaphor as well as a place infused with a sense of belonging, memories, tensions, fun and social meanings. It is filled with our everyday stories. Genetic algorithms, video and photography are used by three artists to present their interpretations of houses and homes.
House ~ Home
"What kind of house is this," he said.
"Where I have come to roam?"
"It's not a house," said Judas.
"It's not a house... it's a home."1
Houses are physical structures whereas the home is a concept; they interweave, but are essentially separate. So where do we start to find the seams that join them, or indeed, the barriers that divide them?
Perhaps the home offers more than the house in personal terms, starkly expressed in that statement of derision: 'I could never live there'. The speaker could be referring to a high-rise apartment, an outer suburban mansion, an onsite caravan dwelling, or even a squalid refugee enclosure, but for their occupants, they are home.
The words are contrary in their use and so it is fascinating then to find that David Malouf's book, '12 Edmondstone Street'2, is such a very profound discussion of his early home life and yet he always refers to the homes he lived in as houses.
It is a truism worth noting that gender roles are often rigid (as they deny us all an egalitarian life), so we can track this truism to nuances of both homes, and houses. They are infused with cultural expressions of gender, inextricably tied to social stratification: so often the determinants of our physical and social location.
In this exhibition, synergies emerge and hold together visions that have disparate elements, individual sensibilities and divergent strategies. These are images that linger in the mind and arouse the viewer's sensibilities - they see a portion of a life and induce a long inhalation of meanings. As with a house, these images take on an additional layering of intimacy, not unlike that shift from a material structure to a space of human habitation: "It's not a house... it's a home,"3 as Judas Priest asserts.
These works take a sense of place and fill it with implications of intimacy pushed against the arid quotidian of the day. The washing, the waiting, the claustrophobia and the profound attachment we have for where we live and how we live. 'Home' cannot always be rich or vital; it can also embrace states of dislocation - a dystopia from which we yearn to escape. Home is miscast if it can only be understood in comfortable terms, as simply a place to which we must want to return. Many people run away or are driven away. Some people may seek 'Safe Houses', for the house can be a refuge or a confinement, a place of commerce or detention, as much as a home may, or may not, offer personal safety.
How strange that as we grow older childhood memories can distil into fleeting, unreliable flashes and sensations, released like an aroma, a leitmotif, a synaesthesia of consciousness captured and carried by the beauty of electronic speed: the new, far from objective, digital moment.
So where are the borders or the connections to be found?
Dr John Storey
1 Dylan B. Writings and Drawings of Bob Dylan. London: Jonathan Cape, 1973
2 Malouf D. 12 Edmonstone Street. London: Chatto & Windus, 1985
3 op. cit. Dylan
'Your 7 Day Essential Guide'. Melbourne Leader, 16 April 2008. p 19.
Backhouse, Megan. 'Art Around the Galleries'. A2, The Age. 25-26 April 2008. p 20.
Marsha Berry and Andy Tetzlaff
Karen Trist and John Storey
Marsha Berry and Ceri Hann