Date of Submission

Spring 2011

Academic Program



Michael Vahrenwald

Abstract/Artist's Statement

My senior project is about creating a fictional reality. Over the course of my time making photographs at Bard, I became disenchanted with documenting the deteriorating world around me and instead became fascinated by photography's capability to lie-- to present fiction as though it is fact. And so I began with simple narrative images, creating characters that lived and died within a series of still frame images. However, given the opportunity, as I was this year, to spend two semesters on a project, I thought bigger, and about expanding this idea of fictional reality out of the frame and into space.

For my project, I made an installation that is a construction of a house-- a fictional house in which a fictional family resides. There are four elements that I employed in the piece: photography, sculpture, video, and sound. The photos serve to portray the family that lives in the house, remnants of them, glimpses into their life so you get a sense of character, despite their absence. These photos are meant to allude to the role of photography in a domestic “non-art” space by charging the space with emotional content. The sculptural element is to give a sense of space, and to introduce familiar household architecture. Video's will be employed to give glimpses of reality: eggs cooking, a fire burning--elements of home life that can only be experienced through the use of time. The audio component will be installed but hidden speakers throughout the "house" that have familiar house sounds, dishes being washed, music being listened to from a room upstairs, etc. All four of these elements serve to transform the space that the viewer enters, in hopes of reminding them of their families, and their houses and homes as compared to the archetype I have constructed.

63 Mulberry Way is an entire fictional address; it is a house that resides on no particular street in no particular town, because it is on every street in every town. As I embark upon my “adult” life upon graduation, constructing my own home is an issue more pertinent than ever. This installation is a culmination of everything I’ve learned from my family, from TV, and from the world around my about how a happy home is to be constructed…a failed attempt some might say.

**Please note: While no online version of this project is available, there is a printed book for this project that is available at Stevenson Library. You can ask at the reference desk for access.

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