Mobile Cottage Industries

Yoke and Zoom were artists in residence at the New Art Gallery, Walsall. Between April 14th and July 15th 2008

During the residency we produced Mobile Cottage Industry. The artwork takes the form of the production of a small mobile cottage in the gallery foyer and its subsequent use as a discursive space.

Yoke and Zoom re-appropriated a 1957, 2 berth caravan bought on ebay, to create a black and white thatched cottage. The caravan, known as known as Penguin Cottage has travelled extensively throughout Europe with its previous owners.

We added new features onto the exterior, including: removable thatch for the roof and permanent faux timber exterior beams and also made minor alterations to the interior. These add-ons complemented the caravan’s original leaded windows, and transformed penguin cottage into a genuine mock tudor idyll.

After the residency this mobile English cottage was ready to move to any location with potential to park virtually anywhere and to be moved through many environments, the artwork becomes a mutable, recreational space and a provider of shelter. Asking, Is the stability of the ideal home threatened by the possibility for sudden movement, or does this provide an example of a micro-utopian living situation that could be duplicated? Simultaneously at home and away, the cottage questions the politics of home ownership, making its home in public space, both in rural and urban environments.

The cottage was parked in the gallery foyer in anticipation of future touring. Following its production at New Art Gallery Walsall, the cottage did then tour to various locations. Including Zoo Art Fair at The Royal Academy of Art, London, (2008) The Long Weekend at Tate Modern, (2008) Meadow Arts at Attingham House (National Trust) in Shropshire (2009) and The Big Chill Festival, Eastnor in 2008/9, Cardigan Wales. 2009