Kristyna and Marek Milde
part of the Express + Local project
at the Queens College Art Center
curated by Tara Mathison
March 15 – June 30, 2011
Looking for a Home, Installation view, 2011, found furniture and household objects
The installation project Looking for a Home by Kristyna and Marek Milde is a lounge environment accommodating the different needs of its users; working, resting, and chatting, the common situations taking place in the realm of domesticity. In this project these activities are base to explore our daily activities and its connection to the mechanism of consumerism along with the culture of disposal. The project commissioned by the Queens Art Center at the Queens College Library is created solely with found furniture and domestic objects dumped in the trash on the streets of New York City. For a one-month period the artists were looking through garbage for useful pieces and gradually adding them to the installation. The selective mechanism in the collecting had only one rule: only pieces were collected that the artists would have wanted to take home themselves. The Mildes explain:
“Creating the installation “Looking for a Home” recalls our experience of collecting furniture on the streets and furnishing our apartment with these finds after we moved to New York. The found furniture, besides their functionality, provided connection to a history grounded in the city by becoming for us the bridge to local memories and associations. After leaving behind most of the familiar and personal, the found objects, originally pieces of somebody else’s home, helped us to overcome the feeling of displacement by connecting us through the object to the local context; the people and their stories.”
The found objects has been cleaned and if necessary repaired before putting in to the installation. The objects has been cataloged and location of the find has been marked on the map of Manhattan displayed along with the piece. The discarded mostly still functioning objects, which assumingly have been replaced by new commodities, are, in Looking for a Home, kept alive, revealing a personal layer connected to the story of its users and their environment.
The artists state: “While the sale of anonymously mass-produced household objects is encouraged by the supportive framework of fictional stories around the objects and designers, “Looking for a Home” focuses on the stories of the objects’ lives and their use, adding an enriching personal layer of a real story connected to specific people and their environment.”
The lounge developed into a fully functional and somewhat luxurious living environment that includes comfortable leather sofa, palm plant or modernist classics pieces such as the Breuer’s Cesca chair inviting to sit down and relax, for longer stay there is a bookcase and fully functional TV set with collection of DVDs. Finally a catalogue titled ” THE NEW YORK SPRING COLLECTION 2011 ” in form of a lifestyle magazine has been produced, following the story of each object localizing its specific context. While Looking for a Home serves the Art Center and Library visitors for gathering, resting and studying, the project addresses the issue of fast-paced cycle of consumerism and the impermanence and the interchangeability of things, where actual ownership often represents a short-lived affair before rejection. It points out the state of abundance and rejection recalling environmental awareness in the realm of domesticity.
LOOKING FOR A HOME PROTOCOL:
1. To create a lounge environment for the Queens College Art Center, which represents an island of private sphere within the public institutional space.
2. All objects are found on the streets of New York City by the artists during the period of one month.
3. The pieces are selected with the criteria, that the artist would like to have them at home.
4. The objects are repaired and cleaned and gradually added to the installation.
5. Each object is documented and categorized in the Records of the Finds and the location of its find is traced on a map.
6. If during the search period a better piece is found, than one already included in the installation, it may replace and upgrade the previous one.
7. Finally a catalog following the process of the project is produced.
Looking for Home is generously supported by: