Blogging Blaffer

Misbehaving Domesticity

Bestué-Vives, Actions at Home, 2005. Video [33:00]. Courtesy of the artists and HAMACA, Spain
Bestué-Vives, Actions at Home, 2005. Video [33:00]. Courtesy of the artists and HAMACA, Spain

On Monday we officially start accepting entries for Buildering Houston, an open-call online exhibition that invites you to reimagine Houston and its infrastructure and architecture (including Blaffer) in terms of the kind of creative misbehavior seen in our first show of the fall, Buildering: Misbehaving the City.

“Sounds fun, right? It looks fun, too,” writes Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Gray, citing “the parkour-like feats of the Dutch ‘jump children” shown in Egle Budvytyte‘s video Leap and “the sly use of a statue in Kamila Szejnoch‘s photo Swing,” among other examples of Buildering played out in public.

But homebodies and shy types may prefer to take inspiration from Buildering artists who have turned their attention to the domestic sphere, such as the former duo of David Bestué and Marc Vives, who collaborated from 2002-2012 as Bestué-Vives on works that defamiliarize daily life through a surreal yet systematic lens, including Actions at Home (2005).

“Set in Bestué’s Barcelona apartment, each temporary action is introduced with a modest caption – assigning it a number and title before the ensuing demonstration by one of, or both the artists,” writes exhibition curator Steven Matijcio. “Ordinary furnishings, behaviors and arrangements are subsequently twisted though a purposefully DIY lens without the aid of post-production, special effects or digital polish.” (The still on the left shows Action No. 6 — “fountain in sink.”)

Thus Actions at Home (part of a larger series of “Actions” involving the body, city and universe) “transforms the domestic abode into a laboratory performed with the absurd choreography of a late-night infomercial,” Matijcio writes. Buildering sounds fun, indeed.

The whole video is worth watching, even you don’t have time to view the entire piece during your next Blaffer visit. Maybe you’ll be inspired, in Matijcio’s words, to move “beyond the madness of cabin fever into the visionary, potentially radical reinterpretation of society’s residential foundations.”


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Mailing Address: Blaffer Art Museum
University of Houston
120 Fine Arts Building Houston, TX 77204