Home Sweet Home is coming to Vancouver! For those of you who haven’t heard, it’s a totally free, installation-style presentation where you get the chance to build the home of your dreams – in miniature! Home Sweet Home is brought to you all the way from the UK by Abigail Conway and Lucy Hayhoe and their artistic company Subject to_change. Home Sweet Home has already traveled the globe to places like Japan, the United States and throughout Europe and now they’re finally coming to Vancouver. We caught up with creator Lucy Hayhoe to find out more about this exciting, one-of-a-kind experience.
Creators Lucy Hayhoe and Abigail Conway. Photo by Michael Owen Baker*
Home Sweet Home is a theatrical experience quite different from your typical theatre-going performance. Can you start by explaining Home Sweet Home, and where the idea came from for the project?
Home Sweet Home is a durational spectator-led installation. It is a miniature flat-packed cardboard town, created by those who wish to build it. The boundaries of the town are laid out in advance with key environmental and geographical features as well as infrastructure and land plots for home dwellings. Flat-packed cardboard buildings are prepared and placed on the canvas ready for purchase (no money is actually exchanged, however) by the participants in the building of the new community. Participants choose a plot, buy a house and decorate it as they wish. Some plots will allow for garden space, which can also be individualised by house owners. When the buildings are all sold and the community is built, the street party heralds the end of this transient, miniature world of cardboard buildings. The community is dismantled but residents can take away their house and so carry with them a trace of the community that was, and their role within it.
The idea came from an exploration into individual and collective space. We wanted to create a piece in which people participated directly, and that what they had made as individuals contributed to a generative and collective outcome. We were also conscious about giving people room and space to be creative whilst providing the necessary framework to inspire the audience. We believe the project works so well as it has achieved a balance of these two principles, and also because it’s fun!
The Local FM Radio Station
Home Sweet Home has a local FM radio station, a postal service, a community notice board and a local city council to help residents settle in. Can you talk a little about these services, how they work and what they do for the community?
The communication devices are vital in allowing participants to role play. The notice board allows for advertisements of local businesses. The postal service allows residents to communicate with one another, and the town councillor is there to guide and oversee all proceedings. The local radio station not only entertains but also facilitates communication between the residents and the district members of the County [City] Council and gives airtime to local issues. The cardboard town soon becomes a living, thriving community.
People are allowed to let their imaginations go wild to create the house of their dreams. What’s the most outlandish, extravagant and/or memorable house you’ve seen?