Mushroom Hall

There is a old English belief that if you can manage to build your a house in a night, then you cannot be expelled from the land, as noted in Richard Heath’s The English Peasant.

Sometimes I feel like I have entered London by stealth, by some sort of veiled arrival at night, and then in the morning, like mushrooms that seemingly appear overnight, I find myself here, almost as if I have always lived here.

When I first came to London, I had a job interview on the day after I arrived, and started work the next day. I had no time to pretend to be a tourist in London. It was also the first time I ever had to speak so much Chinese in my life, as I had gotten the job because I was billingual. I looked Chinese, but I wasn't really Chinese, I was Singaporean. It was almost as if I was acting out some strange “allegory of knowledge”. Confused and unfamiliar with even food products in the UK, I mistakenly drank Vimto straight from the bottle for two days before learning it was a cordial, having assumed that perhaps even the food and drink in London could just simply be louder and more intense.

Sometimes it is not entirely clear to me, if it is the city that I should be trying to figure out, or if it is my performance of being in this city that I have to figure out. How long do you have to live in a place before you can claim it as your own?

The Mushroom Hall is a collection of 23 decorative household objects accompanied by images of these objects displaced into an domestic space which may or may not be completely alien to their origin. Confusion or confabulation has been deliberately engineered into this collection of objects. As physical objects with a fixed found form, these objects accrue narratives as they migrate from place to place.

I’m in a flat in London. There must be a thousand others, just like this one. But this just so happens to be the one we’re in right now. So it’s more real than the others.

There’s no need to tidy up. This is not a mess. It was about having the important things at hand. It was all very deliberate. Give it a while, and you’ll find these things will have begun to belong in their place.

I’ve counted, tabulated and documented all of the objects, and then I’ve put them back in their right place. I’ve noted that there is a place and order to each of these things. There is nothing coincidental or abstract about this. Every form, colour and shadow has been vividly and concretely realised in real time and space.

There are no words in these stories; just interiors, scenes, placements, and constructions.

How long do you have to live in a place before you can claim it as your own?