As the name suggests, HoMA is a sort of ‘home museum’ (a branch of MoMA?). A series of white cylinders are placed on a white-painted piece of furniture – a hybrid of a classic exhibition podium and a fruit stand in the high street (or on the side of a country road). The differently sized cylinders are made of small, white plastic tubes, so-called Hama beads, which can be used to make melted bead craft projects.
HoMA was created for the HOMELINESS exhibition, where designers, architects and craft makers exhibited in a functioning home in the centre of Copenhagen with the purpose of examining the home as a phenomenon and as an exhibition venue. Or, to quote the exhibition catalogue: Craft objects are traditionally seen as objects with a utilitarian function, but the field is moving towards a broader and more artistically reflective approach that is often presented in a traditional gallery space. But what happens when these types of craft objects are returned to the home context?
HoMA is a formal project, a series of cylinders constructed from smaller cylinders – a playful study of scales and of the relationship between part and whole. Because the cylinders are made of Hama beads, however, they are not just formal. Hama beads are associated with children’s play and have an inherently associative and evocative/narrative quality. Moreover, the cylinders are ‘stitched’ together in a criss-cross pattern of threads; a time-consuming, monotonous technique reminiscent of traditional handicraft techniques.
The cylinders are thus toying with a non-formal, narrative quality. The visitors to the exhibition were invited to contribute to this by moving the cylinders around in the room, placing them on shelves, in drawers and in cupboards, where they engage in a dialogue with cups and other items that have a functional purpose and/or sentimental value. The abstract cylinders proved to be highly transmutable and easily transformed into objects with a homely character. That is one of the points of HoMA: demonstrating the degree to which objects are influenced by the surroundings we place them in. The colour white refers to ‘the white cube’: the concept of a completely neutral exhibition space.
The playful element is an important aspect of the project, as an inherently homely quality. The visitors were invited to play along, but also to document the process with a disposable camera provided as part of the exhibition. The photos were developed continually during the exhibition period and displayed in the white museum base, which gradually morphed into something that was more like a private notice board with family photos and notes than an exhibition podium.