The collaborative practice of Mary and Stephan
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Home Balance

 “We’ve been always thinking about how we can get the viewer inside our home. How can we get them to see our house? What kind of project can we do where the viewer participates in our home?”

– Hillerbrand+Magsamen

Home Balance was a commission for CounterCurrent 2016 by the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston. Additional funding support from the University of Houston Small Projects Grant. The bounce house was fabricated by All-Star Inflatables, Dallas, TX.  Home Balance morphs a children’s bouncy house into a contemporary art project about balance presented indoors and outdoors over the course of 4 nights during the festival of April 2016. A large inflatable bouncy house—like the one popping up on your neighbor’s lawn heralding the arrival of a child’s noisy birthday party—is custom built with walls that become glowing film screens. The walls are illuminated by videos of our family inside our own home: the artists and their children jumping up and down, breaking things, hitting their heads against the ceiling, knocking over furniture, falling, creating complete havoc. As the private space of the family home is made public for everyone to see, visitors can enter and bounce in the midst of the images. In a bouncy house the goal is to maintain stability in an environment not designed for stability, while our real homes are designed for a stability that our home-life can never attain. Home Balance questions what constitutes a home, and draws on childhood games to explore how family interactions challenge the desire to maintain orderly control of the structures in which we dwell.