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Melissa Wyman on Home Squat Residency

January 19, 2010 Point of View No Comments

‘Doing squats’, as an exercise, is the action of fluctuating between (nearly) sitting down and standing up without staying in one position for too long.

The Home Squat Residency Program is a DIY approach to finding art opportunities and disseminating work in a suffering economy for artists and patrons alike. Anyone can follow this model. It combines the ideas of a home stay, a residency program, and ‘squatting’. ‘To squat’ can imply a number of different actions from hunkering down in a crouching position to settling on or occupying property that belongs to someone else (without paying rent). But I like thinking of the ‘squat’ in this project as a physical and mental exercise of being between positions…

Melissa's Sculpture with Rug and Boot (Courtesy of the Artist)

Melissa's Sculpture with Rug and Boot (Courtesy of the Artist)

Melissa Wyman's Dreamland (Courtesy of the Artist)

With loose ideas of what makes a residency program, i.e. a space and context within which to create art, a question or challenge to ponder as an artist, the option of a support system through the host/ patron/ collaborator in the form of a place to sleep, work and a possible meal, I put the word out… “Host me for a squat at your place…”

The responses to my callout have taken me to numerous homes in California, Chicago, Florida, South Korea, and Chile. At each location I revisit my question ‘What does home look like to the moving body?’ This is a theme I’ve explored in various forms over the years while moving countries and finding myself in different cultural contexts. As part of my home squats, I work with each new environment as an interactive (re)construction of home.  I document my work along with the conversations and other relative thoughts about the project. All these elements create a construction or idea of home that changes over time. At the end of the squat I leave something, from the work I created, behind for my host and carry the rest with me to the next squat.  The works vary from conceptual to material, but they are all more or less ephemeral.


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