Dream House

I grew up as a military brat in the 1960s and 70s, moving from house to house, state to state, until, by the age of fourteen I had attended over 20 schools, and lived in almost as many houses. I formed a fascination with the vast and changing cultural landscape, often viewed from the backseat of a car on the way across the United States. I had to make friends fast so I learned early to find a common thread with other kids, but I always felt a deeper connection to the landscape itself. Often, after six months, or, sometimes as much as a year later, we would pack up the house and move again, starting from scratch. It was all I knew, so moving didn’t necessarily make me sad…it was a chance to reinvent myself – to be better and do things differently in a new place.

Dream House is a re-creation of those moments I experienced on the threshold of change: our house as it looked when we arrived in a new place: empty of objects but full of possibility, and the house as it looked just as we were about to leave, again empty, but appearing different. What happened in between the arriving and the leaving and how did our presence change the space?

I collected several vintage doll houses; the painted-on landscaping and furniture fascinated me as a child and still do now. I began by creating “housing developments” like those in which we often lived, but quickly found that I was more drawn to the details of the houses themselves, and how the false landscaping, for example, interacted with the live flora of the settings in which I placed the houses. I am intrigued with photography's ability to misrepresent the scenes as reality; that, as with the nature of memory, the houses play tricks on our perception of what is and is not real.

Madeline Wilson