Homey Island



Between spring 2014-winter 2016, Homey Island operated as a transnational project that derives its concept from two opposing uses of the word ‘Homey’: from the American street use of the term implying trust, friend and kinship to the more domestic meaning cosy, comfortable or (DE) gemütlich. The project began with a conversation between sites and collectives based in Brazil, Romania, Bulgaria, UK, Finland and Germany. Though many elements form the whole, two core Eastern European sites form the locus of our investigation: APACA in Bucharest, Romania and the Adata in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. 

Wastelands, Homelands, Islands

Through proposing Homey Island as an opportunity to examine highly contrasting domestic sphere’s – from the luxury flats typically developed on urban wastelands to the makeshift slums that foreshadow them – the project sought to examine issues around immigration, national identity, home and the problematic concept of Homeland. 

As part of his research Alex Head spent regular evenings with the Refugee Club Impulse, Berlin. As a learning process he participated in theatrical exercises while the group rehearsed for their acclaimed piece Letters Home. 

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Fact, Fiction, Fantasy 

During 2014-2015 artist Sonja Hornung developed a speculative approach to the issue of synchronised international funding, namely, a fiction. 

Statement of Intent for a Fiction for Homey Island 

How do you bring together six separate sites and six different groups, held apart by disparate geographies, nationalities, disciplines and intentions, and yet bound together by a commonly held interest in the “wasteland” status and an as yet uncertain source of funding?

The answer: FICTION.

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DAAD Residencies in Romania & Bulgaria 

In June and August of 2015 Sonja Hornung and Alex Head sought first hand knowledge of the respective sites APACA Bucharest, Romania and Adata Island, Plovdiv, Bulgaria. 

In the former, during a six week residency in Bucharest, working with Larisa Crun?eanu, Hornung imbibed materials from the environment as intoxicating substances. Concrete and other materials were used to occupy alternative states of mind through which to approach non-linear, speculative and the very real history of APACA. More information concerning the shared practice of Hornung and Crun?eanu can be found here 

Below: Local media took an interest in a narrative put forward by Hornung and Crun?eanu concerning the ghost of Ana, a former factory employee turned sex worker.


 

Meanwhile in Bulgaria...

Taking occupation as the seminal concept of the Homey Island project, Alex Head used his residency in Plovdiv to literally occupy the Adata Island. This was made possible by synthesising an artistic residency there, five years ahead of a planned residency center proposed by the European Culture of Capital Award, given to the city for 2019.
 


Drawings made by Alex Head while occupying part of the Adata. With structures built by assistant and photographer William Head, August 2015

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Collaborative Action

Blood From a Stone | NTS Radio London |  2.12.2016 10.00-11.00am Channel 2

Investigating enclosure, hoaxes and the IMF through two Eastern European wastelands

Alex Head and Sonja Hornung of the Wasteland Twinning Network spent some time dallying around two urban wastelands: an island in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and a space neighbouring a textiles factory in Bucharest, Romania. In this show, we investigate processes of enclosure - of turning urban land, women's labour and the body into machines of profit. As the work twists and turns each aspect of the hoax reveals that such machines invariably crash and burn. 

Samples and inspiration in a (fairly) chronological order: Hildegard Von Bingen, an exert from J. G. Ballard, Self on Ballard, 2009, ?, Darren Aronofsky, freesound.org, musical improvisation using a Mabira thumb piano from Sierra Leone, music from Raze de Soare - Vis Împlinit, David Bowie, Aladdin Sane, then a remix of the work A-da-ta, from The Adata Files, 2016, more music from SHINICHI ATOBE, Without Makeup and the Soul Jazz Orchestra. The final sample is a recording made at Steilneset Memorial in Vardø, Norway. 



Special thanks to Fergus McDonald and the NTS team, all the wonderful people who hosted and supported us and with whom we hope to continue to work in Romania and Bulgaria. The above residencies have been partially supported by the DAAD – Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst.