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Grandmother’s House, 2013-2014
Living room of five room multi-part full house installation. Contents of my grandmother’s living room transported and reinstalled, multiple carpets, afghans quilted together for lowered ceiling, two original sofas, an ottoman, a black and white television with VCR and library of tapes, lamps, photo albums, additional original components. Looping videos, embedded sound recordings, “clapping “ sensors to trigger lamps.
From September 2013 to August 2014, I lived and “performed” my life inside a re-installation of my grandmother’s original New Jersey home.
My grandmother had begun to develop signs of Alzheimer’s and was forced to live in a nursing home, abandoning all of her belongings. As a result, I developed a project- a year-long experiment in life, architecture, and technology, at the intersection of set- design, immersive theatre, and the advent of new mediums for reality capture.
After multiple trips with fully packed U-haul trucks, I transformed a vacant, 6 room, three-story house in an appropriately working-class neighborhood of Pittsburgh- into a living “set”.
I created a fully immersive domestic installation inspired by the conventions of film-making and theatre. For over a year, I inhabited this abstraction of my grandmother’s home as an immersive performance environment.
Over the year, I held a series of performances, experiences, tours, and gatherings; utilizing the entire house as a performance platform.
Each of the six rooms- the living room, dining room, kitchen, the grandmother’s bedroom, and the childhood bedroom, were meticulously re-constructed, with an underlying symbolic narrative commenting on the passage of time and what we lose with the media we use to capture it.
This project is part of an ongoing research practice in media archaeology, exploring how media capture devices differ in their depiction and reconstruction of the lived human experience.
This research environment was created to explore how future forms of capture technology may converge methods of computer simulation with live performance.
Using the house as a platform for experimental theatre, I held miniature home movie film festivals, recruiting performers to re-enact scenes from my life.
During semi-weekly performances and tours of the house, I recreated and imitated old home movies as a form of participatory theatre.
Virtual Home Videos
As an experiment in 3D scanning, I captured thousands of photographs to recreate the house in 3D space.
Using computer vision tracking algorithms, I extracted “motion paths” of handheld camera movements from my grandmother’s home videos.
I retargeted the motion paths to a virtual camera, resulting in a “virtual home video” of the VHS camera’s trajectory through a 3D collage.
Virtual Home Movies
This project explored the home movie as a form of “video art”, family photography as a portal to the past, and our obsession with documenting ourselves; furthermore, questioning what informs our desires for opening our inner lives up to the world.
An experimental “virtual home video” was composed of thousands of images- anticipating and creating a parallel to the potential of full 3D image reconstruction of our lives, through the artform of photogrammetry.