The House That Jack Built aims to explore how language gives meaning to the physical world around us and explores language as tool, bridging subjective interpretation to a collective understanding. By exploring the limits of language, the project highlights how language and individual words are the foundation for the process of conceptualizing human experience.
Participants were invited into Arntfield’s studio and home to find every room, including hallways, kitchen and bathroom, labeled with pink post it notes describing and explaining every object in her personal dwelling. As they entered the space, visitors were divided into two categories: those who had been to her studio before, and those who had not. Those who had the experience of being in the space previously labeled in blue post-its, those who were new, labeled the space in yellow post-its. Both parties were invited to contribute their own subjective experiences to the installation.
The use of personal story telling, abstract descriptions, song lyrics to describe objects instead of simple labels and descriptions acknowledge the emergence of narratives and dialogues of participants interacting with the post-it comments. The realization that personal memories and subjective language can interact and respond to create a collective foundation reveals a common ground.
The House That Jack Built was included in Emergency Index 2012, an annual print publication documenting international performance work.