Photo by Philip Welding

Home Occupation

Home Occupations is about working from home. Featuring a coming together of self-portraiture and sculpture, this is a performative project played out in real time (and alongside my real job). In fact, if you are looking at this during the festival, I am working on it right now; logged on, wearing slippers, drinking coffee. It will evolve throughout the festival as my relationship with my environment unfolds. Photographs, video and text are being added to the exhibition at regular intervals, functioning like updates on my progress or lack thereof.

Working from home changes our relationship with the objects we own and the domestic spaces we inhabit. It results in inhabiting two personas; 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 term Home Occupations has a dual meaning. In the US, zoning regulations have defined what is an acceptable ‘home occupation’, or, what can be lawfully carried out in residential dwellings, such as artist, dressmaker, author, clergyman. For me however, the title speaks of becoming occupied with the home, its contents and the permeable divide between work and life.

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.