Paranoia as a System: Sit Down, Stay Awhile

In searching for a way to ward off darkness instantly my mind went to home. A safe shelter filled with comfort and familiarity that is always there to go back to at the end of the day. Home is the place to escape to while also the place for escapism. A home to ward off darkness needs to have just about everything one would need to keep their mind preoccupied; games, media, comfortable furniture, house pets, special talismans of protection and safety.

Moving in and out of spaces as become routine for me. All of my belongings can easily be stowed and towed away in a car. Home has become less of a place for me and more about my objects and the people I share a space with. I look forward to the day when I do have a home that is permanent, where my belongings also have a fixed home; their own shelf, their own wall hung up with a nail instead of tape.

This assemblage took form in a diorama of a living room, housed in a frame of a DVD case. The floor carpeted with playing cards and the walls paneled with popsicle sticks. Framed on the walls are found pieces of paper; my favorite number from a dry cleaning stub, a candy wrapper, and the word ‘impulse’ from a discarded CD. The candy wrapper reminds me of my grandmother, many of us share the memory of going to grandma’s house and eating her old candy from the bowls on her coffee table. There are sconces made from fake nails and nicotine vapor containers, an ohmage to a friend perhaps more than just I have. The rug is a DVD wrapped in leopard print plastic; on top of it sits a couch, a loveseat, and a television set. The couch is a plastic vape container upholstered with the warning label of a day glow swimming inflatable. The warning words are censored out, reading “No CAUTION Here!”. A sticker of a dog from a child’s sticker book takes a seat in the corner. The loveseat is made from disassembled nicotine vapor containers (still recognizable), an invitation to addiction because after all it does look comfortable; and no one is this house is really looking or judging. The television is fashioned from a found metal part as a frame, the screen has a skull on it; a reminder of mortality and sometimes the guilt of being unproductive, of wasting time, even when in the perfect place to waste it. Standing on the carpet is the Joker from the card set. The first card to be discarded from the set and never given a meaning, until now. Here the Joker finds his home, he fits right in this place made from objects most folks have deemed unusable; here they make a home.

For this assemblage I imaged a home anyone could find a comfort in easily. Using objects recognizable and transformed to create a home where everyone looking for a relaxing time is welcome. In this miniature living room there should be one thing that connects with each viewer, helping them ward off the darkness. Inviting them to sit down and stay awhile.

Author: Claire Milgram