The Living Room
The Living Room, 2022
Installation By Dans Bain and Sherele Moody
Her Place Womens Museum, East Melbourne, Wurundjeri Country, Australia.
The living room is historically the ‘best’ room, reserved for special occasions including a room for family members to pay respect to their deceased loved ones and be surrounded by the families’ treasures; its art, its best furniture and important objects.
The focus of the room is the fireplace, the soul of the home and a site of celebration and ritual. It is a domestic altar that gave warmth but which also acted as a kind of shrine, the mantelpiece a museum of memories and mementos. Situated by the hearth of the fireplace, the evergreen pine tree is a domestic ritual of Christmas and a living thing sacrificed to bless the house. Christmas comes hand in hand with a number of traditions that can be linked to the memories of a loved one who has passed.
The Living room is a conceptual idea; where a liminal space is created between two otherworldly locations, or states of being. This is a peaceful, reflective space with the soundtrack of the sea, engaging with the idea of connection to both a point of departure and arrival.
Some items in this room belong to women who have lost their lives to male violence and other items belong to survivors of male violence. These personal motifs act as a facilitator enabling the participant to construct their own meanings.
Special instructions for participants in The Living Room
Take a moment to be in this space.
There are 3 ways in which you can participate in the Living Room:
Origami hearts have been hung on the Christmas tree with the names of the women and children who have lost their lives to violence in 2022.
You are invited to write the name of any woman or child lost to violence on an origami heart and hang the heart on the Christmas tree.
In memory of a lost woman or child to violence, you are invited to place an LED candle near the fireplace.
Families or friends who have lost a loved one to violence are invited to write a letter to their loved one and ‘post’ it into the fireplace.
Survivors of violence are invited to write a letter to their past self and ‘post’ it into the fireplace.
If you would like to write a letter you may request a Her Place volunteer to close the door to the space and you will not be disturbed until you are ready to leave the space.
Please note: The letters will not be read. At the conclusion of the exhibition the letters will be collected and burnt; releasing the messages beyond the liminal space.