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a month in a house that used to host a tenant


host: noun

1. one that receives or entertains guests socially, commercially or officially

2 a.: a living animal or plant on or in which a parasite lives

b.: the larger, stronger, or dominant member of a commensal or symbiotic pair


parasite: noun

1. an organism living in, with, or on another organism in parasitism.


We inhabit the structure of the house in a symbiotic bond, using its space and surfaces as a parasite would inhabit our own body. The house functions as the host and the tenant as the parasite. We need the house for shelter and the house needs us to remain a functioning structure.

We use it but do not consume its structure and in return the house is maintained and lived by its parasites.


We adapt the structure of the house to our needs: drilling holes, hammering nails, filling its bowels with our possessions, dressing the walls and making light, water and gas flow through the building. The house lives while we are present in it.It bears with our constant presence because without us it would remain empty. It would not be maintained properly and it would slowly be taken over by the elements of nature which would, with time, start to wear it down and leave it to the process of decay.Most adaptations we make to the structure of the house during our stay leave a trace.These traces we make can tell the next inhabitant if the house has been lived in before, and indicate in which way. Like a discolored spot on the wall showing where a painting or piece of furniture used to stand, layers of painted paper, a hole where an electrical socket used to be, or old nails and plugs that used to support hanging pieces. Some of these traces are the result of a practical decision and some are accidental. They can make the new inhabitant imagine what made them. Sometimes the answer might be a very logical one: a big dark square on a wall can be an indication that a big painting hung there for years, keeping that patch of color on the wall unaltered by the sun. But sometimes it is hard to tell, a group of plugs on the wall at a strange distance and angle towards each other can make the new inhabitant wonder what strange shaped object occupied that space on the wall, or if it was even a single object or several.


These traces multiply and change with the coming and going of inhabitants. Some inhabitants also parasite the house more mildly than others, leaving fewer traces behind when they leave. After enough time, these not only become more but also get mixed up, making it hard to tell which one came first. This can make it hard to see what made the trace and what purpose it served, but they are indicators that are constantly growing and changing. With each new inhabitant old traces might get erased, for example: holes in the wall might be filled up or a new layer of paint might be added to the wall to cover up the shadows of what used to hang there.But on this new layer new traces are also made, holes are drilled again and the wall is dressed with all sorts of hanging frames and pieces.This coming and going of inhabitants creates a never-ending collection of traces. They become embedded in the house. Changing and multiplying, slowly taking over its' whole surface.


this installation was part of a two weeks residency in De Gorzen a neighbourhood in Schiedam.

The text was part of the publication House, Home. Or Both by the TxT Department.


read more about the project: here

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