Public Artwork

Domicile (Neighbourhood Series)

Kati Campbell, Domicile, 1988
Kati Campbell, Domicile, 1988
Kati Campbell, Domicile, 1988
A- Western Storage Company, 540 Beatty, Vancouver, BC, V6B 2L3, Canada
Artwork creator(s): 
Campbell, Kati
Text author(s): 
Campbell, Kati
Installation year: 
Remarks on location: 
Downtown. Signs placed in windows.

Illuminated posters installed on billboards

Text of the artwork: 

[panel 1]

Common  morning   activities   accom-
plished within a few seconds : turn off the
tap,   open   the   curtains,  take   off   the
kettle,  pour  the  water,  open  the  fridge,
pour the  milk,  replace  the  carton,  close
the   fridge,   close    the    bathroom   door.
Once    inner   adhesions    give    way,
Common    motions    break    down,    are
Significant   tasks   in   themselves.

The man  chased the  woman out onto
the deck. He flailed at her with a long
plank of wood; she held her own with a
metal coat rack.
The deck doors are constantly left
open. Often he has his son or daughter
down on the living room floor while he
pummels  and  kicks  them,  screaming
hoarsely. Or else the woman is chasing
them  with  a  cooking  pot.  Squalls  of
words swirl about them.

[panel 2]

Although small and plain, the backyard
is  used  to  its fullest  capacity.  Many
nights in summer, the whole family sleeps
outside, the man, the woman, the three
teenaged sons, the young daughter. Each
has their  own  cot,  blankets  and  sheets.
An electric alarm on an extension cord
wakes them up for work.

Two motions deliberated carefully and
then she must sit down, exhausted, beside
the window. She can just see the heads
of two people in another house carrying
on a conversation. Nodding civilly back
and forth. Normality.

[panel 3]

The law required them to build a two
car garage and put in a driveway. This
left little space for a garden. The week
before they moved in, the grandmother,
old and tiny, almost doubled over, built
up a garden in the driveway. They parked
their car on the street.

Several times each year, the young girl
can be heard screaming, over and over,
“Why don’t you just kill me you bastard,
oh I want to die, I want to die”.  When
the police come, the mother and daughter
are  helped  out  of  the  house  and they
drive away.
Recently the young girl came home
from   the   hospital   with   a  baby.   The
stepfather has since bought a new car
and dresses more respectably.

[panel 4]

Last year they tried to get rid of the son,
dangerously full grown now and as sour
as the father, by paying his way back to
the homeland. He came back after a few
months; no change.

This was in mid-November and she had
a miraculous garden of giant bok choy
and  cabbage  under  plastic.  She  tended
it  every  day;  with  slow,  precise  move-
ments,  she  would  lift  the  plastic,  the
wind blowing,  then  prune  and  weed  and
water.   Meanwhile   the   other   houses’
legitimate garden spaces lay fallow, open
to the winter weather.

Text theme: 
(Dysfunctional) domestic suburban life
Artwork theme: 

Lack of direct interchange amongst city dwellers; exposes fraud of neighbourhood; dislocation, alienation from our neighbours; home as a hideaway from the urban, public sphere


Home (Neighborhood Series). Screenprint on plexiglass, fir, fluorescent fixtures, paint. Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Vancouver


Exhibition Urban Subjects, September 26-October, 15, 1988.

Event date(s): 



Urban Subjects

Sherrin, Bob (1988).  Urban Subjects. Vancouver : The Vancouver Association for Non Commercial Culture, p. 25

Privé/public: art et discours social = Private/Public : Art and Social Discourse

Madill, Shirley J. R. (1993).  Privé/public: art et discours social = Private/Public : Art and Social Discourse. Winnipeg : The Winnieg Art Gallery, p. 68