Home Sweet Home

Subject to_ change
Battersea Arts Centre
(2009)

Walking into the BAC's Grand Hall my friend and I are greeted by a perky estate agent who asks if we've had a look at the town from the gallery, and whether we want to buy a property. We haven't yet had a look, so we climb the stairs to the viewing gallery and catch our breath as we overlook an entire miniature city below, complete with model power station.

We decide it would be best to live by the river, so on return to the friendly agent ask for a detached house on the water (it's £1 extra for the detached, but we figure it's worth it). Since we have two tickets we're allowed one each with a view to connecting them to create a mega-house - how exciting to finally be on the property market. So, keys in hand we head to our new home, ready to begin construction.

Two flat pack houses await us, along with hundreds of building supplies: tape, glue, crepe paper, corks, material, sparkly pens, scissors... It's like being back in art class aged seven. Taking a brief stroll through the neighbourhood we are greeted with a house covered in feathers (home to Laura, Glen, Pauletta and Mirabella it is declared), a house boat run by pirates, and take a stroll down Random Lane.

A man dressed in white with a satchel checks the post-box and begins to deliver the mail. The notice board holds information for the Secret Saucy Bookshop, adverts for a fortune teller and an invitation to a hot-tub party at number 76.

But we don't have time for such fun and games yet - we have work to do. We set about creating our dream home complete with pretzels and pistachio nut shells on the roof, buttons for windows and a luxurious pool. Residents FM booms out 90's cheesy pop before introducing a live act, and the grand hall buzzes with a neighbourhood at work as dozens of people sit on their haunches scribbling, sticking and creating their contribution to this new town.

Home Sweet Home is an utterly charming experience. Subject to_change have created a genuinely impressive landscape which is full of heart, celebrating the potential sweetness of a community who want to provide for each other. Perhaps I should make a little time to invite my upstairs neighbours round for a hot tub party?

Reviewer: Terry O'Donovan