No Place Like Home

‘No Place Like Home’ is a series of short audio narratives written in the second-person, which attempt to evoke imaginary suburban places, events and scenarios for the listener. The audios are designed to be downloaded by individuals from SoundCloud, and listened to on headphones through a personal MP3 player, whilst they occupy a location along Hulme Street in the city of Manchester. These narratives describe quotidian places, events and scenarios in detail that attempts to reveal the extraordinary.

The narratives are not designed as a portal transporting the listener out of the present, but rather as an extra-spatial layer that can be imaginatively mapped onto Hulme Street, creating a kind of hybrid urban/suburban space.

Each of the narratives include a range of events and subtle opportunities for physical participation. Instruction notes are included with the downloadable material, explaining that participants may choose to use the audio texts as a set of physical instructions if they wish. The result of this is that the narratives allow for a range of physical responses and interpretations. Hulme street has the potential to become occupied by a range of people engaged in their own internally driven ‘performances’, which could be witnessed by an accidental or non-participating audience.

The idea for this project came from my ongoing interest in public, urban play. Recently, I have begun to explore ways in which specific sites and landscapes might be simulated within other places, through ‘play’. The narratives I have written for this project and the suburban, domestic sites they evoke, derive from my own memories and experiences, and the physical instructions from my own practices of play.

Hulme Street has an ambivalent, slightly menacing and ‘edgeland’ quality, occupying a location between the residential and the commercial. ‘No Place Like Home’ attempts to locate the peripheral aspects of the suburban alongside the peripheral aspects of the city, in this site.

The work was shown on the 1st October as part of the Emergency Accommodation performance and live art event, organised by Håb and Blank Media Collective. The work was (and still is) available for download from SoundCloud (www.soundcloud.com/daniabulhawa).

On the day, MP3 players were available for audience to borrow, with a small deposit.

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