Image: design by Alec McWilliam of Boon Studio

Playing Houses 

Full-day multi-venue arts event hosted by first-year MA Writing students at London’s Royal College of Art, project managed by Fiona Glen. As part of a collaborative project with Flat Time House, we considered issues of domesticity, hospitality, and welcome as we programmed and facilitated artist demonstrations, writers' seminars, performances, talks, and a 'pub quiz’ full of the unexpected.

What happens on the threshold where the home and the public meet?

What kind of face does a place need to put on to become public-facing – and how can it express welcomeness and be welcomed?

When a house tries to make itself hospitable, what happens to us inside?

Playing Houses spanned three neighbouring cultural venues in Peckham, London: Artist Run, Peckham Liberal Club, and Flat Time House (the foundation and former home of John Latham). Collaborating artists included Sally O'Reilly, Megan Rooney, Audrey Reynolds, David Raymond Conroy, Lucy Vann, and Daisy Hildyard.

Images: Ludovica Colacino & George Lynch

Flat Time House TV

Reception Room, Audrey Reynolds

Curdled, Esme Boggis 

TAP TAP inside the body, Megan Rooney

Full programme:
Flat Time House

Reception Room: A reading and writing seminar with Audrey Reynolds
Through the interleaving of texts and experiences this seminar will be used to produce new experiences and texts. Participants will engage with a selection of texts and audio that address some matters relating to dominions and domains, will and welcome, and public and private thresholds. Artist and writer Audrey Reynolds will present her own writing and audio work interspersed with a selection of poetry and prose extracts by other writers. This will lead on to writing exercises focusing on, but not limited to, vignettes, prose poetry and interior monologues that examine the participants’ experiences as potential guests, ghosts or imagined selves in Flat Time House.

Curdling: a performance with Esme Boggis
Join artist and MA Writing student, Esme Boggis, for a buttery performance in the kitchen of Flat Time House, which will attempt to interpret 1970’s German-written cookbook – Buffets and Receptions in International Cuisine. The performance will enter a space of greasy re-enactment, slippery methodologies and muddied mistranslation to explore the inefficacies of effect and representation.

Flat Time House TV
Daytime TV for the curious: a specially selected afternoon of programming responding to the theme of ‘Playing Houses’. Broadcasting contemporary short film, moving image and music videos from artists and filmmakers, plus footage from the Flat Time House archive. Drop-in-and-drop-out all afternoon, grab a copy of the TV listings, help yourself to free tea and coffee. Featuring John Latham, Laure Prouvost, Sam Wiehl, Pathé Film, and many more.

Architectural Association’s Independent Radio hosts the Royal College of Art’s MA Writing programme for an evening meal. This show is a pilot of a series that will discuss how cultural institutions operate domestic spaces as their functional ‘homes’. Governed by the implicit rules of politeness, table manners and decorum, but keeping within the expectations of their new institutional formations, the first broadcast dinner will ‘air’ on 30th March, during the Playing Houses event and will be available for listening at Flat Time House during the day.

Artist Run

TAP TAP: inside the body with Megan Rooney
My mother had a sign above the stove which read, “A tidy home is a sign of a misplaced life.” Out of isolation or perhaps out of pure boredom, she included me in all her domestic activities. We were taking care of the “nest” but it wasn’t our cage. The house provided us with a certain kind of freedom and we took liberties with it. In this performance lecture and making demonstration, Megan Rooney, an enigmatic storyteller whose work expands across painting, performance, written and spoken word, sculpture and installation, will engage with materiality and the human subject. Her work is deeply invested in the present moment: the festering chaos of politics with its myriad cruelties and the laden violence of our society, so resident in the home, in the female, in the body.

Artists' and writers' talks & performances
Three invited artists and writers give readings and performances on communication, habitation and the ‘public’ space - with subjects as diverse as the artist’s archive, Tinder and the inside of a nuclear reactor.

Daisy Hildyard is a novelist and academic. She has a PhD on early-modern scientific writing. Her first novel Hunters in the Snow received the Somerset Maugham Award and a ‘5 under 35’ honorarium at the USA National Book Awards. She currently runs a research project on animals and fiction at Northumbria University, and is working on a novel about nonhuman life forms. Her latest book, The Second Body, is an essay on the Anthropocene. She will host a reading of a series of short texts and extracts which consider how humans and other animals make habitat, from Kafka’s The Burrow to the microbes who live inside nuclear reactors at Chernobyl and Fukushima. There will be time for response and discussion after the reading.

Lucy Vann studied at the Manchester School of Art before completing an MA at the Royal College of Art. She is an artist and part time lecturer on Graphic Design at manchester School of Art, and holds a studio at S1 Artspace. I’ve Come Here To Talk To People’ is a monologue inspired by language used on dating apps such as Tinder, picking out tropes, one liners and moments of uncertainty used in biographies and conversation. The performance explores the presentation of the self and communication both on digital platforms and in public spaces.

David Raymond Conroy is an artist. His compositional works investigate the performance and construction of subjectivity, power and value within shared social space. He often assembles structures using objects, texts and images in order to investigate the relationships between desire and proposals of fidelity.
He will be exploring John Latham's archive, looking at the artist's extensive correspondence with the (art)world and his efforts to support and publicise his work without compromising his vision.

Peckham Liberal Club

Playing Houses Pub Quiz
In the evening, guests are invited into Peckham Liberal Club to digest the daytime’s thoughts, events and conversations at Playing Houses, and participate in a 'pub quiz'. Guests can write, discuss and relive the day’s activities in a quiz format. But unlike most quizzes, you may be asked to craft materials in your team or to write responses to esoteric, unanswerable questions – not necessarily answer, but to respond. Playfully, and with special guest hosts, the quiz will activate responses in the third and final venue of the day, asking questions of encounters in space and the unpredictability of what occurs in these situations.