No Place Like Home Series
In the series No Place like Home, I explore the ideas of home and homelessness through the use of multimedia. In 2019 Milwaukee’s “Tent City” was home to 80 homeless individuals for the past two years that were recently evicted. As this was in issue taking place in my city, I wanted to further understand what these ideas meant beyond a standard definition, and to challenge the audience’s preconceptions. Having a home is not just a shelter and being homeless is deprivation beyond basic necessities.
The first piece in the series is meant to be an obvious representation of a homeless man. With lack of interaction from the public, the homeless are often unseen and feel invisible. I aim to reflect this feeling by creating areas in which the subject blends into the background. At the same time, the viewer is now forced to come close and personal with homelessness.
In the second piece I wanted to explore the notion of how in America, net worth can feel synonymous with self worth. I applied this to the homeless, and how they then not only face physiological suffering but psychological suffering due to their financial situation. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs indicates that psychologically, if one can not meet their basic needs of having shelter, it hinders their ability to reach other needs such as safety, love, esteem, and self actualization.This piece is a collage made from receipts and barcodes all from purchased items. This contributes to the underlying theme of materialism in our society. There are various preconceptions when it comes to the homeless community. They are labeled as lazy, addicts, or deceivers. No one chooses to be homeless and there are many layers to this piece that mimic those of the homeless individuals and their complex situation. These layers imply that there is more to this story. The viewer is intended to look deeper into the piece finding layers that they had not initially seen and possibly reflect on and reconsider their own thoughts on homelessness.
Throughout the series, I encouraged the audience to look at homelessness but the last piece was intended for the homeless to judge our ideas of home. Within the piece there are small indications of the homeless looking in and it is important to note that this outside viewer is always looking straightforward, making eye contact with the audience. I set the stage within a doll house where every room shows the “dolls” on display showcasing these different ideas of home. The home can be an intimate place that represents who we are, a place for creating memories, a private place for our secrets to dwell, or a place that shows off our financial status. Every person has a different perspective on home and these rooms themselves may have different meanings to the viewer. It may cause the viewer to feel a bit of guilt over their materialistic behavior or to think more deeply about how the homeless not only do not have shelter, but they do not have a safe place, a place to make memories in, or etc.