Open House: A Performance Art Project by Single-Mother and Son Or If You Haven’t an Academic Home, Invite the Academy into Your Home

Summer Cunningham

Abstract: Open House, a performance art project originally titled “Give and Take,” took
place in September 2010. My son and I created this project as an invitational gesture: we
hoped to make a home for ourselves within the academy by inviting the academy into our
home. Members of our academic community were split into small groups, given a key to
our home, and, for one week, invited to show up at our home anytime—day or night,
announced or not—to see what our life was like. Not everyone showed up, but,
nevertheless, there was a shift in our community that was palpable as a result of this

In what follows, I share documentation from this experiment and offer a contextualizing
narrative that provides background regarding circumstances and politics that influenced
our performance, a performance that raises (and perhaps offers some answers to)
questions about community, belonging, academia, and motherhood.

Because of the use of imagery throughout this paper, a PDF version is available to view this presentation in its entirety.

Open House

%d bloggers like this: