Kitchen Installation at 4581, developed for Les Occupantes, Montréal, Québec, 1996
The Venus Fly Trap Collective existed from 1992 to 1996, concluding with a site-specific apartment-based exhibition. For Les Occupantes, I prepared a site-specific installation work in the kitchen that revealed the accumulation of many smaller installation pieces within it. 4581, rue Garnier was an ideal space for certain of my ideas as it contained an unusually high number and variety of cupboards and drawers. This inherent aspect of the space helped establish a visual rendering of the passage of time to convey a feeling of accumulation. Opening cupboards and investigating drawers exposed connective threads between the different parts of the work, while moving about in the space revealed criss-crossing narratives of the personal, political and of place. The temporal and social aspects of the work constructed a reading of the self in relationship to its dwelling places, the body, home and the city.
The kitchen, as a domestic space, is historically woman-based and can represent the site of nourishment and nurturing (memories placed in bottles and put on shelves) and of desire and loss (the beautiful red dress and the dust collection). The domestic is made up of stories and little fictions that are told and retold. Stretched over time our personal stories are mediated by the politics of the day (newspapers pasted in cupboards or on windows and by the television placed under the sink).
Anthony Vidler writes: “As articulated theoretically by Freud, the uncanny or unheimlich is rooted … in the environment of the domestic … thereby opening up problems of identity around the self, the other, the body and its absence… Estrangement and unhomeliness have emerged as the intellectual watchwords of our century … a homelessness generated sometimes by war, sometimes by the unequal distribution of wealth.”