September 22, 2018

Emily Davidson’s performance of “How Its Made” at the Opening Reception for Unpacking the Living Room

Julie Hollenbach

During the opening reception for Unpacking the Living Room, artist Emily Davidson performed the installation of her wall paper piece How It’s Made.

In an ironic performance that references do-it-yourself home improvement television shows, Emily Davidson installed her digitally printed wallpaper design onto the Living Room‘s walls with the assistance of the gallery’s techician, David Dahms. As Davidson and Dahms rolled out, measured, cut, and sponged on the wall paper, Davidson used a microphone to explain the process to guests attending the opening reception. Davidson discussed the findings to her research around the material resources and labour numbers and demographics that support the production of the domestic decorations and furnishings that the home decor industry (specifically, the wallpaper she designed and had digitally printed and mailed to her in Halifax). She walked guests through the info-graphic design that shares facts about the production process and the labour politics of those implicated. During the performance, she noted, “The wallpaper design depicts both collective and individual labour. As a form of mass-produced decoration, wallpaper is found primarily in domestic spaces, which are considered private and personal. Yet the design of How It’s Made suggests that the isolation of domestic life is an illusion, where individuals are constantly implicated in complex global systems of labour and exchange.”