Collamer House is based on a foreclosed home in East Cleveland that was demolished shortly after the work was made. As a collaborative project with a local anthropologist, we studied and excavated the house in effort to reveal and preserve some of its history. The work includes lumenprints, which involve pre-exposed photographic paper that was left in the house for a week to expose with fragments of the house (wallpaper chips, wood, ceramic tiling, etc.) laying on surface. The sunlight exposes the prints, similarly to a photogram. Some of the fragments remained adhered to the prints after their exposure. Other information includes photographs from inside and around the house, as well as scans of objects found inside the house. Through this process, I connect subject matter to material, as the physical qualities of the house determine the resulting forms in the image.
The final work is a collage made to address the Economic Housing Crisis of 2008 and its results, which were particularly devastating to the community of East Cleveland. As a white person living outside of East Cleveland, I cannot as accurately speak to the experience of this community, but what I do know from speaking to community members is that East Cleveland is full of life and history. It is a place that many call home, whose families have lived in East Cleveland for generations. East Cleveland needs to be preserved, and what it may need is the recognition and assistance by the surrounding cities that have ignored it for years. This does not necessarily mean that Cleveland should annex East Cleveland: the beginning of that process only revealed the unwillingness by Cleveland to offer support. East Cleveland Mayor Brandon King believes that large-scale art projects may be a possible solution.