Where Do We Really Live?

Ok, so I am bogged down in the details of my app building and learning so many new things each day that my head feels like it’s going to explode, however, I’m going to take a little break from that and write about an amazing artist I saw at the MoCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) in Cleveland a year ago December.

New York City Apartment, Do Ho Suh

New York City Apartment, Do Ho Suh

Why so long ago, you ask? Well, I was going through the trauma of caring for my ailing and mistreated-at-hospital parents (well, that part was just my father) and was in Cleveland dealing with that, taking a break to see this show with my friend Claudia, and just couldn’t get to blogging at all during that part of my life. Life, such as it is, just takes over and decides what you can and can not do at times. Needless to say, I have a lot of catching up to do. So, getting back to the art….

The show was the work of the amazing South Korean born artist, Do Ho Suh, who has quickly become one of the most important artists of our time and named “Art Innovator of the Year” by The Wall Street Journal in 2013. His work deals with the boundaries between public and private space, global identity, memory, displacement and nomadism – all of which I was dealing with at the time, feeling the abandonment of my childhood home and city and the thoughts of life in my family as finite, individually and as a whole.

The first visual texture that hit us upon encountering this work was transparency and the undulation between solids and opaque surfaces. Suh had recreated his entire New York City apartment in polyester mesh fabric and bright solid colors. The layers and feeling of x-ray vision was amazing, not to mention the attention to detail which was mind boggling. Once being in it and moving around in the space for a while, I was overcome by a feeling of ghostliness and melancholy as the space was the shadow of a place to live, but was it a home?

The Specimen Series, Do Ho Suh,  Aren't these fabulous?

The Specimen Series, Do Ho Suh, Aren’t these fabulous?

Suh also had a room with what he called the, Specimen Series. Several normal household appliances and fixtures, also in polyester fabric, that were “framed” in plexiglass light boxes, glowing eerily in a darkened room. Soft, stark, beautiful and lonely.

So, you can see why this exhibit was hitting so close to home (yes, pun). It begged the viewer to consider their vision of home and what that means and what it feels like to have a home or not. It also made me think about how we are like mental turtles, carrying all of our past, present and future memories of “home” around in our heads, which is really where it is, clearly spelled out as I watched my childhood home slowly turn into a generic house as it was emptied of its contents.

In the end, there is universal empathy from all of us as we understand that globalization and digital communication slowly erase our traditional notions of time, space and place, driving us further and further into our heads/homes.

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