13 Questions


Thirteen Questions considers the relationships of land use to personal and domestic territorial negotiations. The title Thirteen Questions refers to a roommate questionnaire used by a women's collective household in which I lived during the late 1970's. Although many of us have left behind such experimental living situations for less complicated living arrangements, the kinds of questions we asked one another are still being rehearsed against the backdrop of global politics, environmentalism, or the economics of food distribution. Such questions can never be successfully approached as a single polemic but must be consid¬ered as a series of ever shifting dialectics. Thirteen Questions uses the metaphor of a roommate questionnaire to expose and interrogate the contradictions and relativism inherent in so many present day social and political struggles.

Each question juxtaposes a fragmented panoramic landscape with a photo/text strip narrative enacted by fictional roommate characters. In order to ground these abstract relationships in a specific cultural context I include anecdotal text about the issue and how it was negotiated within the women's collective household. The question of cleanliness takes place against the backdrop of San Onofre Nuclear Beach and Power Plant. The Food Question locates itself in a grocery store parking lot in a wealthy suburb of San Diego. "Are you politically correct?" is represented in front of a monumental corporate sculpture reminiscent of the Unisphere at the 1964 New York Worlds Fair. (Ironically this one is located at the entrance of a planned retirement community called Leisure World in Laguna Hills, California.) The centralized use of the landscape as theatrical backdrop addresses the issue of land as a culturally determined social space. The fragmentation of the panorama further references multiple, contested, and disrupted points of view. Ideas of ownership, domination and subordination, cultural order and natural chaos have been an ongoing concerns in my work. The characters within this proscenium, all of who are played by women, give voice to idiosyncratic personal identities in contrast to the paradigm of a universalized and natural woman.

The dimensions of each of three completed pieces are approximately twenty-five linear feet. They have been seen at Installation in San Diego, 1990, Carnegie Museum, Philadelphia, in the United Kingdom at the Arnolfini, Bristol, 1993; Icon Gallery, Birmingham; The Photographers Gallery, London; and in Canada at Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa, 1994; and the London Regional Art Gallery, London, 1995.

Hansen Lane Roommate Questions
Are you politically correct?
The Food question - Food habits? Share food?
Do you like to garden?
Do you want to be part of the family?
Are you neat or messy?
Are you interested in working things out emotionally?
Lesbianism. Bisexuality. The separatist question.
Are you comfortable with neighbors dropping by?
House meetings - are you interested in that process?
Are you willing to take on a household task?
Do you like to play?
Money - Are you willing to share? To what extent?
Do you have any questions for us?