Photographic still from HOUSEBOAT #1
Performance on 31 January 2014 in Antwerp as part of the exhibition ‘Nomad Bodies’ curated by Elfriede Dreyer with glass sheet, flour and honey.
This work is part of a new series of works by Johan Thom centred on exploring the notion of the ‘houseboat’. To be clear this is distinct from the more commonplace concept of the ‘boathouse’ (a boat on water that doubles as a human habitat).
In this sense the houseboat signals a rethinking of the ordinary house as being a stationary built environment inhabited by individuals, families and so forth.
In this series of artworks the notion of the house as an ordinary private dwelling is displaced in favour of a more open-ended understanding: the house become a space through-and-by which real and imagined journeys into the world are undertaken on a daily basis. The house now becomes something like a ghost ship – a simultaneously ethereal & concrete framework that accompanies and informs ones myriad interactions with the surrounding world. The houseboat is never left behind as one travels into world but an every present reality in ones daily life.
For Houseboat #1 my voice became a virtual ‘speaking of’ the houseboat and its crew as they journey into the world. For me, these multiple voices are the material embodiment of the interactive relationship between the houseboat, the various individuals that inhabit it and the world they encounter on their journey.
At the end of the performance I simply let go of the glass sheet.