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Is a House a Home?

This week’s series of Sunday shorts focuses on the notion of home and the way houses are used largely to construct this notion. The films you will see are a series of artist moving image works.

We start with Marie Losier’s Miniature Houses of Chicago Museum of Modern Art (2002). This is a work that was created from one roll of film, when the filmmaker when to her favourite museum, the Chicago Museum of Modern art. Here along wither her friend Brian Frye they visited visit the Joseph Cornell pieces and the miniature magic room. Scale is played with here with the miniature house toying with the way we often construct notions of home, in reality but also through play.

The next film is Spirit House (2008), by Robert Todd, it is an ethereal film which plays on ideas of the spiritual and notions of the haunted house, and the non-physical presence that often haunt or existent within spaces.

Max Colson’s film, Construction Lines (2017), explores the idea of iceberg homes, houses mainly in London where the sub-ground levels are larger than the house above, this example bring from Knightsbridge, West London. These supper structures are often the residencies of the elite, and gain hundreds of objections from surrounding neighbours like this one did. The film shows the house as a 3D model, constructed using the original architectural plans, the narrative is formed from the objections filed against its planning, and about the lives of lifestyles of the super-rich. It offers a mediation on the notion of wealth, construction and power.

Junker House (2019) by Karen Russo, is a film I saw at this year’s amazing Alchemy Film and Arts festival, which this year was held online. The film is shot in the private house of architect Karl Junker, who spent his life building his house in Lemgo, Germany. The house was filled with intricate details and features a maze of elaborate wood carvings that extended over all floors and into all corners, and even the furniture, which Russo describes as, ‘a spider’s web – a hand-crafted manifesto of a creative solitude.’ The film takes us into the space, which is a product of Junker’s imagination, an inner world of creativity, made physical. It is a building that appears somewhat like a fairy tale house, with the paintings on the walls and carved wood, an invention a fantasy, but is in fact decidedly real.

Lastly we have Ben Rivers, House: Another Old Dark House (2007). The silent work, focuses on an abandoned house, where now only small fragments exist of a once animated domestic history. It instead now feels like something from a horror films, with peeling wall paper and crumbling interiors. Forgotten and uninhabited, the memories of those who once live these all lost. It creates a work that highlights the unfolding process of abandonment, decay and renewal, both in terms of the physical space, but also memory.

Links to Films:

Marie Losier, Miniature Houses of Chicago Museum of Modern Art (Excerpt) - 2002, 3 mins:

Robert Todd, Spirit House, 2008, 16mm, 10.30mins:

Max Colson, Construction Lines, 2017, (extract), 1.30mins:

Karen Russo, Junker House, 2019, (extract) 7.30mins, 16mm:

Ben Rivers, House, 2007, 6mins, 16mm:

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