Houses Never at Home


Houses Never at Home: Responsive Textiles, Fabric Dwellings and Precarious Housing

This talk moves from an analysis of the Pechet and Robb Architects’ Sweaterlodge (a utopian, giant, environmentally-friendly orange fleece tent) to several knitted houses, and a carpet that traces the footsteps of a distant lover. The talk concentrates on fabric dwellings – tents, bivouacs, emergency shelters – that are often associated with precarity, exile, and loss of community, but increasingly are connected to mobility and the frenetic pace of contemporary life. Moving from refugee camps and housing shelters created by the sub-prime mortgage crisis to high tech laboratories and art exhibitions, this talk analyzes both the utopian and dystopian extremes of fabric dwellings, suggesting that in textiles can be found a metaphor for the precarity of home in the twenty-first century.

About Kirsty Robertson

Kirsty Robertson is Associate Professor of contemporary art and Director of museum and curatorial studies at Western University, Canada.

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