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Dwelling is funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding provided by the Boston Foundation for Architecture and individual donors.

  Jason Middlebrook
Dwellings in Air

Wood, paint, mixed media, bird seed

A stack of colorful birdhouses, some upside down, some at a jaunty angle, stands at the edge of Lake Hibiscus like a totem pole. A serious message underlies these playful forms, reminiscent of folk art found in rural front yards. Askew, they refer to the chaotic and transitional states of houses all over the world, whether due to catastrophe or to changing cultural imperatives.

Just as humans have been taught to read from left to right, we are conditioned to conceive of dwellings in certain ways. We think of home as a reflection of self and identity. Home makeover programs have grown in popularity, home magazines fill the newstands, Walmart and the Martha Stewart DIY movement have given homemakers new confidence and increased the importance of the home as a shrine.

Humans design birdhouses as if they were made for humans, even though birds construct their own homes with organic materials – twigs, straw, dead leaves – and garbage.

In this sculpture, I turned the birdhouses upside-down and sideways. Dwellings are disrupted and threatened every day throughout the world by floods, hurricanes, and wars. I wanted to reflect the chaotic state of many dwellings around the world and highlight the difficult, even absurd relationships humans can have with the natural world and with each other.

For more information on this artist, please visit: Jason Middlebrook