Former student’s online exhibit features foreclosed Florida home

Internet users can explore the disconnect between the burst housing bubble in Florida and the foreclosed homes it left behind in “Open House,” an online installation partly developed by Patrick LeMieux ’07, a Bachelor of Environmental Design graudate from Texas A&M.

LeMieux created the application, “Open House,” with Jack Stenner, one of his former master’s degree professors at the University of Florida, in which one can virtually visit the home, which is in foreclosure proceedings, open the front door, operate the shutters or turn the lights on and off.

“Virtual markets transformed this otherwise livable property into a ghost house,” said LeMieux, who earned a Master of Fine Arts degree at Florida, and Stenner in an artists’ statement on the “Open House” site. “Prior to the collapse, movements of global capital seemed like a distant reality to most homeowners, but in the end it was imaginary systems of value, not bricks and mortar, that fell apart.”

The installation, they said, temporarily resists eviction by creating hybrid subjects who occupy both virtual and physical space.

Stenner and LeMieux, now a Ph.D student in Art, Art History and Visual Studies, installed motors on the blinds and the front doors of the house, then mounted video cameras around the property. Finally, wrote Matthew Shaer of the Christian Science Montitor,  which featured “Open House” in its Nov. 9, 2010 issue, they connected the motors and cameras via a snarl of wires to a central hub in the living room.

The installation, exhibited at SIGGRAPH 2011, the world’s premier computer graphics and interactive techniques conference, and the International Symposium of Electric Art, is available for download at its home page.

posted September 1, 2011