Home is a loaded word. Home is a word that means so many different things to different people. Home is an idea and a concept. There are a variety of 'homes' out in the world. There are real places, theoretical, spiritual. Home is something I don't stop to consider much, because I rarely feel 'at home'.
Dan Fox wrote an article for Frieze on the concept of home and how it relates in art and in the digital age; he comments that rather than the internet, it's our lived experiences informing our arts. Fox highlights the importance of local art and artists and looking close to home for inspiration as well as our contemporaries and those exhibiting internationally.
'To believe that art should be about Big Universal Themes Understood By All Humanity is to believe in a platitudinous monoculture"
and when I read it I punched the air and said "YES". We should observe and think about art we don't 'get' because essentially it's attempting to teach us and the artist is providing us with their lived experience, their 'home'.
The article goes on to discuss how many artists get priced out of where they live, because artists work in their communities and when it becomes 'hip' and 'cool' those with the money come in and make a profit. More often than not; the artists are then priced out and they go on to regenerate another area. The cycle continues; sadly this could happen in the town I call home, several times I've heard of associates and friends of mine concerned that big businesses are buying buildings, that we may be priced out of a town we've poured so much love in to.
Because so many artists want to find the disused building, and create an alternative gallery space that's free to exhibit in and cheap to run. The building that was crumbling around our ears? It now has water. It has electricity and it has a purpose.
The Heidelberg Project in Detroit embodies many of these concepts of art, home and community. The project demonstrates the power art can have to transform and enthuse. From what I know and what google tells me; Detroit is struggling and neighbourhoods are decaying. The Heidelberg Project is fighting this decay and breathing new life to those effected. The Powerhouse Project, which carries similar themes and is also in Detroit; is encouraging creativity too. Artists and those with a creative vision and trying to give the community something to be proud of, something that embodies hopes and dreams for the future.
Detroit is supposedly a symbol of urban decay, yet my feet are itching to jump on a plane, despite my irrational fear of getting on one. There are many artists and exciting individuals exploring the concept of home, not just in Detroit but across the world, in hidden pockets they are exploring how to make things better. These artists are bringing beauty to our streets and encouraging the community to get involved too. It's a tried and tested method that if you let the artists run the streets suddenly things change, regeneration creeps into the corners and before long the community has a pride in where they are, and the pride transforms the immediate area.
I'm involved in a project in Hastings that is transforming a disused office block, it's exciting and inspiring, and the people I've met through this are trying to change things. The most exciting bit? They are changing things. There is a very likely chance that this once dilapidated 1920's office block is going to become essential to the arts community in this town, this county. There is every will in the world from everyone involved to keep building skywards. Pushing boundaries of what we can do. Why stop at Nationwide when International is just a plane ride away?
In the words of Dan Fox,
'and there's the home that's right here, right now, where you live and work; the daily starting point from which everything follows'