An Abandoned Farmhouse Transformed Into a Life-Size Dollhouse by Heather Benning Reflects on Ideas of Home



#local weather crisis
#brief movie

April 22, 2022

Kate Mothes

All pictures © Heather Benning, shared with permission

A sight familiar to individuals who vacation along the old roadways and by-means of the North American countryside, an deserted farmhouse is a touching reminder of modifications in the landscape and the individuals who reside there. Primarily based in rural Saskatchewan, artist Heather Benning has expended the last numerous a long time generating perform that explores themes linked to the effects of substantial-scale, industrialized agriculture on regional communities, household farms, and a perception of residence. In 2007, this took the form of “The Dollhouse,” a monumental artwork created inside of a dilapidated homestead near the tiny town of Sinclair, Manitoba, that experienced been empty due to the fact the 1960s.

Benning eradicated the north wall of the creating and changed it with huge sheets of plexiglass so that viewers could peer within just like a child’s dollhouse, but it could only be seen from the exterior⁠—there was no way to enterprise inside of. Classic furniture and objects have been positioned in the course of vividly painted rooms that could be illuminated at night. Like a phase set eerily devoid of men and women, she needed to check out thoughts close to presence and absence. “By sealing the household and preserving the audience at a remove, viewers had been compelled to consider take note of what generates a feeling of dwelling. I consider ‘The Dollhouse’ aims to discuss to our profound wish for re-connection with spot,” she shares with Colossal.

The home stood till 2013 when, as component of the unique idea for the task, it was burned to the ground. In a limited movie produced in collaboration with filmmaker Chad Galloway, the digital camera documents the fire as it engulfs the dwelling wholly, prompting the viewer to consider the exclusive grief of losing a house. The artist provides, “This is possibly specially poignant at a time when we’re ever more getting rid of our residence-places to unfettered industry and weather improve.”

Prints of “The Dollhouse” are accessible for acquire from the Benning’s internet site, and the movie is offered to check out together with modern operate that continues to investigate equivalent themes. You can also observe her perform on Instagram.


#weather crisis
#small film


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