Home as an Idea (1993)

Home is a space of absence - sound, heat, smell and annoying phone calls

A proposed network of nodes installed in Victoria Station, London (and eventually around the world) where commuters can find "home" (the software to programme the hardware of "house"). "Home" may be found in the absence of sound, heat, smell and annoying phone calls -- a space which can be populated with one's own sounds, heat patterns and smells and in which one can devote time to quiet contemplation. The installation includes a blur-creating air curtain; a deodorising air conditioner; a digital acoustic cancellation system; and a microwave interference barrier (to block cell phone calls).

Network of nodes detecting motion and heat pattern

The project is a study of home, as an idea. This differs from "house", in that it is the intangible quality added to an area, that imparts a sense of security, or "homeliness". "House", on the other hand, in the context of this project, refers to the physical materials that preserve this condition (walls, roof, furniture, photographs of loved ones, telephone).

Section thru node showing air curtain

Our society has changed considerably since the Second World War, but housing has not reflected this transformation. Home no longer consists of a house and a family but is redefining itself in terms of today's increasingly mobile cultures; it is no longer possible to refer to a set place for work and a set place for home for the two are merging, partly due to the development of portable office equipment (cellular phone, laptop computer, etc.). Home can no longer be represented by the idealised Georgian "house"; how can it, if a large part of the population resides in apartment blocks, row houses or even cardboard boxes?

Rising heat shimmer and microwave barrier

Following on from initial investigations of eye contact and vision (retinal stimulation and perception), the study has developed into a project that constructs spaces with intangible materials such as electromagnetic radiation and sound waves. It consists of several components, one of which is a material of absence. This is a featureless, textureless "material" into which will be incorporated the idea of "home". It is in constructing this area that the technical study lies.

Home blur

The project uses the results of various experiments and investigations to construct spaces that affect local conditions of less than five metres radius. These spaces constitute an investigation of home as an idea. One possibility, to preserve this condition of an idea, rather than a construction, will be to make a network, in which home is "found".