Four Houses, Never at Home: Tents, Capitalism and the Fabric of Living

using-a-tent-does-not-equal-camping-small

It seems, these days, that tents are everywhere. In the wake of natural disasters, in the face of manufactured crises, after conflict, and on the edge of borders, can be found fragile, ephemeral fabric dwellings. This paper tells the stories of four tents, four “houses never at home,” and a fifth story not about a particular tent, but about tents themselves. The first story looks at the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States, the second at New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, a third turns to the Occupy movement and a fourth looks more generally at displacement and exile in the face of conflict. Moving from the very local and fixed to the global and mobile, and from the idea of tents as a temporary fix to the tent as a mobile structure full of utopian possibility, this chapter uses the tent to investigate the role of home under the indifferent capitalism of the twenty-first century.

Published in Breaking and Entering: The Contemporary House Cut, Spliced, and Haunted. Bridget Elliott, ed. McGill Queens University Press, 2014.

Read a pre-publication final draft here.

Advertisements

About Kirsty Robertson

Kirsty Robertson is an Associate Professor of contemporary art and museum studies at the University of Western Ontario.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: