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Laurent Liefooghe Architectuur - WOONMACHINE

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Installation / 2010

The “WoonMachine” is a house in which living takes place without inhabitants. It is both a modernist glass house and a black box. The installation explores the boundaries between 'real' living and the staging of it. Through the use of sound, light and automated curtains an ordinary ‘day in a life’ is evoked in a sequence lasting 37 minutes.

A phenomenological space: The “WoonMachine” appeals directly to the senses of the visitor. We hear someone walking on the wooden floor, turning on the tap, running a shower and the rustling of clothes as they fall to the ground. From outside comes the roar of a car passing by and crickets chirping in the background. The light changes from harsh and overhead at noon, through to low and orange at sunset and soft blue in the morning. A voice orders the inhabitant to stand. She asks him to perform very precise movements such as lying on his back, pushing away the duvet a little and raising his torso up with his elbows. The inhabitant of the “WoonMachine” has no body. We hear him move and as the light turns on and the Venetian blinds suddenly close, we can also observe the consequences of his actions. Yet we do not see him. He has no image — the body of the inhabitant is a projection in the mind of the visitor.

A psychological space: In the “WoonMachine” an ordinary day is dismantled. Every movement, sound (and silence) is systematically developed and staged in an endless loop of light and sound. The detailed actions attract all the attention and hardly leave any space. The recognizability of these actions is almost disturbing. It is as if we are engaged in a compulsive neurosis, caught in the everyday life that unfolds in a place floating somewhere between a modernist house, a 19th-century display cabinet and an Ikea viewing stand.

A performative space: The ‘WoonMachine” is an active space. Rather than just shaping a framework in which the action can happen, the “WoonMachine” provokes the action itself and is thus an architecture determined by what it can bring about rather than by what it shows. By accessing this space the spectator becomes a participant and can choose to actively live in the installation, or, simply by his presence, be experienced as ‘part of a scene’. The installation therefore works on two levels: it is both a small theatre where sound and light produce a succession of domestic scenes and also a space containing all the features of a real house such as running water, Ikea furniture and a cooker. The visitor can make coffee or take a shower if he or she feels like it. 

concept: Laurent Liefooghe / sound design & conceptual advise: Christophe Meierhans / production & support: Z33 Centrum voor actuele kunst en vormgeving, Provinciaal Domein Dommelhof, Huis aan de Werf Utrecht / support:  Vlaamse Gemeenschap / special thanks: Christophe Antipass, Ula Sickle, Rudy, Dominique & Rony

production: Mokum vzw / Helga Baert

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