Accepted Paper:

Chasing Houses - A Road Movie: architectural migration in the US  


Justin Rathke

Paper short abstract:

I will show and discuss excerpts from film material, shot in spring 2013 for an experimental documentary that analyzes the phenomenon of mobile home culture in the US and its connection to road movies, the American Dream, the housing bust and critical values of flexibility and mobility.

Paper long abstract:

The panel presents work in progress, selected excerpts from "Chasing Houses. A Road Movie". This experimental documentary follows mobile homes - houses that get deconstructed, transported and reconstructed in a new place entirely - throughout their journey through the USA.

It is a surreal road movie, researching social and economical contraints of a contemporary migration in the late capitalist society of the US: The years of of the financial crisis, the housing bust, mobility under the pressure of economical adaptation, the self-reconstructing American Dream. Who is living in those houses? What is moving them? What are the causes leading to this form of migration? Will mobility make the hopes of social ascent come true?

The film is a collage of images of driving houses, interviews with owners, truck drivers and construction companies, and quotations from road movies such as Easy Rider, Bonnie and Clyde, Natural Born Killers. They are commenting on the voyage as restagings and as audio-fragments and draw a line between mobility as an expression of unlimited freedom and mobility under the the aspects of financial adaptation.

What is the cultural mindset behind? What does that have to do with the road movie genre? And, finally, why do my European eyes find that so fascinating, being used to solid structures of stone that get passed on from one generation to another?

Participants are warmly invited to discuss these questions.

Panel P24
Exploring highly mobile life-worlds