Tag Archives: Paved Arts

transient spaces

Today at work the managers and caseworkers got an identical postcard with a series of quotes on the back that were lifted from Homeless Nation.

oct2010carolIt is part of an art/awareness project that is showing that Paved Arts in Saskatoon is hosting from November 5 – December 11, 2010.

postcard history: the “où je suis n’est pas qui je suis” (where i am is not who i am) image is from my intervention at l’état d’urgence 2007. the postcard, produced for l’état d’urgence,2008 was distributed on site to convey the message that where one sleeps does not define who one is. for transient traces the original postcard is “stressed” through folding, ripping and staining.

project: communicate with the “housed”  as if they were the “unhoused” –deliberately blur boundaries through a directed mis communication.

selected text lifted from the homeless nation web site as a “ready-made” is transcribed in quotation marks on the back of the postcard. the postcard is then sent to an artist, educator, politician or communicator. all the names and addresses of postcard recipients are found on the web.

the project deflects communication from the homeless nationsocial networking site whose members represent a certain social/economic status toward individuals of a different social/economic network. transferring text from the homeless nation site to the postcard redirects a text that is intended to be disseminated to as large an audience as possible to infiltrate, one-by-one, the target community. the work performs by communicating “as if” the target community is part of the homeless community. the boundary defining the “unhoused” community from the “housed” community is transgressed to render the distinction momentarily suspect.

the text selected from the homeless nation website is not chosen with the goal of obtaining support for the homeless. the text is used as a means of infiltrating one sphere into another. permission is not sought from the original “author,” the project performs the position that information disseminated through social networking sites is in the public domain and open for fair use.

The last little part of this bothered me a lot. While I was inclined to take in the show, the project is wrong that information disseminated through social networking sites is in the public domain and open for fair use.  What was created on Homeless Nation belongs to those that created it.  Using it in another format without permission or attribution has always been seen as plagiarism.  It’s too bad that they took this approach because I am sure many of the community members of Homeless Nation would have been honored to contribute.