DREAMHOUSES: Abstract Fantasy Homes Prompt Short Stories
With controversial AI creations around so many corners, it’s refreshing to see an analogue project like DREAMHOUSES come along. Thought up by Fort Makers and stemming from the idea of vivid pandemic-induced dreams, the project is an online exhibition of abstract fantasy homes. Six artists and designers created their own “dream house” before being paired up with writers, who then used the creations as a prompt for an accompanying text work. The catch was that participants could only use materials that were available in their actual homes. The result is a digital neighborhood that explores the idea of what a home is to the creators.
“The past few years have forced us to radically reconsider our relationships with our homes, coming to realize that it is where our imagination comes together with reality: we create spaces in our own image while making sure they also serve our quotidian needs,” says Fort Makers Co-Founder Nana Spears. “With this project, we wanted to see what would happen if the artist is free to eschew the practical part of this equation and create a space of pure fantasy,” adds Co-Founder Noah Spencer.
CHIAOZZA x Janelle Zara, “Parallel House”
“Parallel House,” created by the duo at CHIAOZZA, features a horseshoe-style layout of two houses. With an all-white exterior and interior full of brightly-colored objects, the design takes advantage of indoor/outdoor living spaces. Entirely modeled of construction paper, this modern piece of architecture is ready for the California desert.
Janelle Zara wrote “Imagining Life Inside CHIAOZZA’s Dreamhouse, Which I’m Sure Exists in LA” in response. “In my dream house, time is an illusion, a social construct; here adherence to time is 100 percent a choice. There are no clocks, no scheduled zoom meetings, only the movement of light and shadow as the sun traces its path along the sky. Throughout the year, from day to day, this movement is never fixed; the day stretches and contracts according to the seasons.” Read it in full here.
Harry Nuriev x Drew Zeiba, “Off The Road”
Harry Nuriev’s immersive work likes to blur the line between actual and virtual realities, so it makes sense that “Off The Road” would follow suit. The 3D rendering uses his signature cobalt blue to highlight a canopy bed set in a green meadow. Once the sky dims, an otherworldly light of its own turns on.
In “Sense Index Zero,” Drew Zeiba dives into what we feel like when alone in the comfort of our homes and the color blue. “One can feel blue; blue is not something one wants to feel. In Maggie Nelson’s obsessive catalogue of the color, Bluets, she writes, “Loneliness is solitude with a problem.” Soot lands on my tongue as a reminder that there are things I cannot control, that home is not the shape of a globe, that there is no edge. The world escapes. I am beneath a sky of my own making as words crystalize carbon gray against my teeth. I shed description: I become primary.” Read it in full here.
Laurie Simmons x Natasha Stagg, “Sparkle House”
Artist Laurie Simmons, explorer of nostalgia, gender, and consumerism, created “Sparkle House.” A sparsely furnished Victorian mansion of sorts, its personality comes from the patterned textiles used throughout its rooms – including the sparkling rugs that come to life when hit with light.
Undeniably a great setting, Natasha Stagg wrote “Nowhere to sit” in accompaniment. The short story tells of a group of roommates, their various personalities, and the dynamics that exist in such situations. “The couch was so unlike the image when it arrived. All of the roommates looked at it, delivered and out of the box, the first new piece of furniture they had bought as a group. It was supposed to be what brought the room together, a luxurious blue velvet thing. They should have known, they all thought, that cheap velvet would look it, giving away more than what their second-hand or inherited furniture did.” Read it in full here.
Noah Spencer x Philippa Snow, “Sunshine Daydream”
“Sunshine Daydream” was brought to life by Fort Makers Co-Founder, wood sculptor, and painter Noah Spencer. The tiny mixed-media hut features a single unfurnished room that can move across the accompanying desert landscape with you – almost like a pet.
Critic and essayist Philippa Snow wrote “Ithaca” in extension.
“Ithaca, whose name was actually Jane, had dropped out of her Creative Writing MFA to start a new life in the desert, where she’d planned to write a novel, drop some acid, and behave exactly like the kind of white girl who called things her ‘spirit animal.'” Read it in full here.
Marcel Alcalá x Whitney Mallett, “Corner Studio Girlies”
Populated with non-binary figures, Marcel Alcalá’s “Corner Studio Girlies” uses glazed ceramic figures against a cardboard city painted red to share alternative expressions of queerness. It was photographed in the corner of Alcalá’s studio, which is also the piece’s namesake.
Whitney Mallet explored the hectic, playful yet dark, “Corner Studio Girlies” and wrote #Justiceforglitter. The piece revolves around Mariah Carey, 9/11, and the movie Glitter. “And while I’m not suggesting that sabotaging the vehicle intended to catapult Carey into cinema stardom played a role in Al Qaeda’s attack schedule, it has been documented that Osama Bin Laden’s preferred five-octave-range songstress was Whitney Houston.” Read it in full here.
Sam Harvey x Tash Nikol, “From Here I’ve Seen Even More”
Like something out of a fairytale, ceramicist Sam Harvey created a single tower. Covered in light blue shingles and waving a flag reading “having no idea as to what it all meant he chose to stay home,” your imagination just might run wild.
Poet, writer, and curator Rash Nikol interpreted the tower into words, perhaps as a link to another world, in “Waiting Room for Spirits.” “the wise ones speak of the spirit house / here and there / our ancestors speak of a place there / a holding room for spirits / outside of skin / not far from clouds.” Read it in full here.
To learn more about DREAMHOUSES, visit dreamhouses.fortmakers.com.