Playing House

54 cards and folded table of contents
2.5 × 3.5 in

Playing House is a non-linear narrative told through prose poetry and collage. The project comprises fifty-two cards, which can be shuffled or read in their original sequence. Each card features a poem on its face and a collage on its back. The text chronicles the life of a man and his relationships as he performs his identity against the domestic backdrop of middle America. Each collage serves as a non-representational meditation on the content of its respective verse, and is created from wallpaper fragments to further reference the facade of domesticity. Playing House is a collection of moments from the life of the protagonist as he struggles to reconcile his past — a failed marriage, a complicated childhood, and the necessity of keeping up appearances — with his new life as an openly gay man in a tumultuous relationship. Through its indeterminate structure, Playing House explores the workings of memory, the influence of the past on the present, and the inadequacy of language as a means of communication. The text, the imagery, the structure, and the reading experience are all connected by a number of motifs. Among these are surface, simulacra, and fragmentation.

This project is a collaboration with Carley Gomez, who wrote the text and executed many of the collages.