I've found that home is a place you can be dirty; a place you're at ease. For some, the ability to turn a place into home depends on time.
For others, unjust systems refuse home altogether.
an exploration of home
Home I, 2014
Enamel, glass, steel, and red tape
30" x 30" x 15"
Home II, 2014
Enamel, silver leaf paint, glass, and found objects
24" x 24" x 18"
Home III, 2014
Enamel, glass, salvaged wood, and found objects
24" x 24" x 18"
As a German American Buddhist woman, I have often felt outside of the spaces that I occupy. I am constantly reminded that I am no one identity enough. From an early age, I yearned for a place where I belonged. Home(?) was a series aiming to depict the tension between place and individual identity. Each nest represents one of my three homes: Munich, Germany; Seattle, Washington, and New Orleans, Louisiana. I was interested in how the individual fits or juxtaposes the space around them, particularly when we become inhabitants of multiple places.
Home(?) was the unofficial start of a three year long artistic exploration into the meaning of home. Looking closer at the tension between self and place, I realized that my issue with home was not in where I resided but something internal. After high school, it was important to me to move to Germany to try and regain a sense of home. However, in my time in Germany I felt increasingly invasive and out of place. Bouncing between the houses of relatives, I reduce myself to a shadow as to not disturb them. The thought of leaving traces of my existence behind terrified me. Thinking about the anxiety created by being in other people's homes, I realized that for me, home was a place where I could be at ease—a place where I could be dirty.
I played with various forms of collecting dirt: leaving paper on kitchen counters and floors to "draw" portraits of dirt, casting used sponges in resin to preserve the spills that make a place home, and bottling the dirt from the corners of my house.
Growing home, 2015
Gelatin in petri dishes left in various rooms and spaces in my home for two weeks to cultivate bacteria (mold)
2" x 2" x .25" each
Often, the biggest obstacle to feeling at home is purely time: time to become familiar with a place, to know its corners. Time to wear it in. I wondered how I could take home with me where ever I went. What was the most instant form? Dirt is a record of time—dust bunnies collected over months in hard-to-reach corners, daily sheddings, the glitter from the most recent costumed event. To bottle dirt is to bottle time.
By bringing my dirt with me, I could instantly make the most sterile and unhomey place smell and feel like home. In making my own personal instant home kit, I played with the irony of mass production. Of course, these instant home kits are non-replicable—they must be individual and personal. It is a perpetual DIY project. So is home.