Unstaying

Trinity Buoy Wharf
London
2022

Resembling the shape of a primitive hut, in reference to Essai sur l'architecture by Laugier. Unstaying settles as a contorted house in an apparent state of dereliction and decay, made with sewn banana leaves to a structure standing on 4 lifewatch torpedoes pointing towards the river. The ephemeral installation is resting in the space overlooking the Thames, which suggests the idea of an object that has been navigating, perhaps crossing the Atlantic and through the river until its arrival to Trinity Buoy Wharf.

 

The Banana leaves are covering the structure due to its importance in Venezuelan culture. They are used to make Hallacas, a meal prepared to celebrate the Christmas period, where  all the family gathers together for around 3 days to make it, a dish that embodies the idea of home as a ritual. In the same way, a communal effort brought the piece to life, when around 20 people gathered to sew each leaf to the walls of the house. Unstaying changed during the time of the exhibition, first being very solid and green, and later becoming paler, lighter, and deformed when the leaves started to dry, offering the illusion of an object that has undergone an accelerated passage of time. It is as if we were standing in front of a house from a different time, with walls looking like what could be the texture of memory.


The work encapsulates ideas of architecture, migration, and the sense of belonging. It is, in a way, a piece with direct conversation on the effects of the Venezuelan migration crisis, where more than 6 million people have left the country due to the political and social tumurtul. Unstaying offers a place for reflection on the notion of home after a process of displacement, perhaps more like a place which changes and transforms, or to imagine it as a psychological space that exists in the collective memory, a space we can rebuild with our rituals and traditions.