Two artists embarked on a journey through the the vast landscapes of Chile, they sought out locations, and sourced materials to build temporary homes out of found materials to embody a creative new way of life.
The first home, ‘the Cabin’, was constructed in a forest cove with the found materials scavenged from an abandoned mill and dilapidated, abandoned houses—remnants of a recent earthquake. A small wooden house was created and the artist-couple resided there for a week, building and creating a life within the forest.
On the island of Chiloe, the artists sought permission to build on the land of a local indigenous farmer. They wanted to create a traditional palafito, or house on stilts over water, which the island is famous for. The small house was built just over the water’s edge using scraps obtained from a local wood merchant. After a heavy rainfall and subsequent rising waters, the house was submerged and destroyed.
The third home was created from materials washed up on a beach on the wild and windy Pacific coast. The house was blown down and buried on the first night only to be reconstructed the following day, proving the home and location to be inhabitable.
Retreating inland, the fourth home was built within the branches of a tree on the same land as the second house.
With weather changing and winter encroaching, the artists headed north, stopping en route to collect a number of windows abandoned from a recent refurbishment. They set up home number five beside a volcanic lake, spending a number of days in appreciating the raw landscape before the arrival of snowfall, which culminated in one the coldest nights they had ever experienced, and the closest the pair came to actual danger.
The pair headed further north into the desert to build the final of the six homes, completing the three month journey. The final home proved the most successful of the experience: a simple shack made from materials collected beside the road, an old wardrobe, broken chairs. The warm weather allowing a peaceful end to a journey otherwise fraught with difficulties at times.
The artists did not set out with any particular aims in mind; they wanted to create transient artworks they could live in.
OUTCOMES AND IMPACTS
The project made a cross-cultural impact: it instilled curiosity in the locals, who were attracted to the ethos of living artistically, sustainably and nomadically. Since the history of engagement with Europeans has generally been one of caution and mistrust, it proved an interesting new encounter. Indigenous communities became interested in how these artists were engaging with the Chilean Landscape in their own respectful and creative way.
Environmentally, the project comments on the capacity to create and live off what is readily available to create something new and functional. The intention of the artists to live simply using found objects and to build temporary structures had minimal environmental impact.
Tony Honecker held an obsession with art, travel, gypsies and living with intention. William Farr was interested in temporary sculptures. The two developed a romantic involvement. They decided to extend a work trip of Tony’s to Chile and spend 3 months attempting to live through their art. The weather proved a continuous obstacle, as their vulnerability to the elements was emphasised so harshly by living outdoors.
IMPACT OF ARTWORK PRODUCTION
‘Spaces can be created from almost anything you find. The abundance of materials the world has to offer is endless, yet manmade objects are now so short-lived in terms of their use.’ —Tony Honecker.
Honecker insists on the ability of nature to ‘inspire’ and to remind one of the bare necessities of survival. While his artistic statement is predominantly focused on the individual experience of living amongst nature and surviving on the remnants of larger society, his message of simplicity and what he and his partner gained from three months of simple living runs through the process of the work also. Building with found materials and building structures in locations where they would inflict minimal environmental impact was a core element of the piece from the outset.