Photo by Philip Welding

Home Occupation

TO: FORMAT Festival HR Department

Home Occupations by Philip Welding

I am on a Zoom call. My house plant is encroaching. I’m making a spreadsheet. I need to finish that tiling. I feed the dog whilst resolving a tricky work problem in my head. I climb the walls. Exercise at my desk. Workspace training for ergonomics at home. Prop my back with a cushion.

This request for me to work from home comes with a commitment to make ‘work’ throughout the duration of the festival in the form of photographs, moving image and text. The submitted photographs are a starting point, but will evolve throughout the festival as my relationship with my environment unfolds.

Featuring a coming together of self-portraiture and sculpture, this will be a performative project played out in real time (and alongside my real job).

Working from home changes our relationship with the objects we own and the domestic spaces we inhabit. It results in inhabiting two personas: that of worker and homeowner. There is a contrast between the intangibility of virtual meetings and being surrounded by tangible household objects.

They are present whilst I work, they distract me from work. Often, they serve as a reminder of something that needs doing. That shelf needs fixing. The lawn needs mowing. Other times, they are a welcome distraction from the work contained on the screen. The boundaries of the work/life balance become eroded when the dog can join my meeting.

The title Home Occupations has a dual meaning here. In the US, zoning regulations have defined what is an acceptable home occupation. For me however, the title speaks of becoming occupied with the home, its contents and the permeable divide between work and life.

Participant