tour of a house, tour in a book

Date: 1994
Location: Institution of Rot, London

Caroline Bergvall: Concept, text, voice on tape



I was invited to set up work at artist Richard Crow’s iconic house The Institution of Rot, London, 1995. Questions of occupancy were central to my thought processes. How does one inhabit a place? a gender? one’s body? The best way to be in the space was to shadow it, and escape it, so I wrote and created an audio tour. Questions of foreignness and queer minority  status jolted yet emboldened each step in the house. The piece was later recreated and published as a graphic text.


I used Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons, notably her third section “Rooms”. The way she conceptualises space as movement and behaviour of objects/beings in space through negative contiguities, through what they’re not, opened up just the space I needed to slip into my own developing language, desires, and modes of occupancy.

Éclat–Occupation des Lieux 1 – 10 was partly drawn from Gertrude Stein’s Rooms and subsequently configured as a parodic guide-tour, complete with broken English; a carnivalesque gesture indicating that the guide was in fact the foreigner.

Cris Cheek How 2

PDF link of the book


Video finalised and published by Richard Crow