About Itinerant Home
This blog began as a venue to share my (Mary Hale’s) research, resources and process in fabricating the inflatable Itinerant Home for the DesCours Festival in New Orleans, December 9-13, 2009. Since then, the blog’s purpose has expanded to document all of my personal and collaborative inflatable-making projects. I hope it’s useful!
The conceptual basis for the original Itinerant Home project is below, for anyone who’s curious:
Four years ago, Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans in a deadly pass. Four years later, her destruction endures, but not for a lack of effort on the part of local and national groups, led by citizens and celebrities alike. These stalwart philanthropists nobly toil to rebuild the city and to provide homes for those displaced by the floods. Nonetheless, many of their projects break ground in flood-zones without adequately safeguarding against future disasters. Meanwhile, contemporary architects and urbanists obsess over climate change and its rising tides that are projected to flood our coastal cities. Their design proposals range from the practical to the absurd, but few of their ideas take shape beyond the drawing board and beyond the pages of glossy magazines. New Orleans is a hotbed of both confusion and possibility.
In response, Itinerant Home provides a focal point to discuss these possibilities. The project takes the form of a wearable, inflatable house that shelters multiple wearers as they work together to navigate through the historic neighborhoods and water bodies of New Orleans. The project draws from artist Lucy Orta’s early critical work, “Refugee Wear”, which re-imagines bivouac structures as wearable shelters. In so doing, the popular notion of body-wear extends to include shelter. Like Orta’s Refugee Wear (pictured below), Itinerant Home expands this definition of body-wear. Only in this case, body-wear goes beyond the gallery to be seen – and worn – by the public of New Orleans in the context of their historic building stock. In this context, the project will symbolize and stimulate new ways of thinking about the architecture of home and the future of the city. It is a playful venue for conversation and exchange, literally tailored to fit people of all ages.
Itinerant Home was commissioned by the New Orleans Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and will be on view during DesCours week from December 9 – 13, 2009.