A project that I really hated explaining to people since it was a) for a photo class and not a photograph and b) more or less just a wooden box.During the semester I had been looking at my family's past and addressing in some ways my inability to connect with the "old family" down in the South. One of the focal points of this idea was the forty acres of swampy land I'm likely to inherit down in Kentucky. I know very little about it and haven't ever seen it, though I know it's there.

This project was originally intended as a shelter that I would assemble on that land, since it was uninhabited and I personally had no presence there. The proportions were based around the size of my body, and its intent would be a humble symbol of me and my ownership of the place.
Logistics were not in my favor and though I had a lot of people who were enthusiastic about going and helping me, there just wasn't enough time. I decided that I would build it in my backyard at school, with the intention of moving it down there at 
a later date. It would then be more of a mockup or prototype.

What happened in the process though, was that I realized the project was more about my parents than distant ancestors or some primordial sense of belonging. I built the thing with just a claw hammer and a hand saw, and my inadequacies in engineering, woodwork, and (most importantly) muscle brought my own parents strengths into light. My dad can build amazing things out of wood - I guess he made it look easy. I created a sort of rooftop garden, first for the idea of a food source in my theoretical shelter, but also out of respect for my mother's gardening skills, which I also find myself lacking.

The backyard setting made it all the more appropriate, and though the thing is still in Oberlin, slowing decomposing and overrun with hornets, I think it still holds these dual meanings.

Oy that took a little too long to describe, but I hope I explained it to some degree.

AuthorChris Hamby