Brooke Hunter-Lombardi Artist’s Statement for City Art Center, Delaware, Ohio 2012
Doll houses are a place to play and perhaps to plan a domestic future. As a child I spent countless hours shopping and planning for, decorating and playing with my Victorian themed doll house. I slipped away into fantasy, imagining personalities and pastimes for the china dolls that lived in the space. I often dreamt (both while sleeping and awake) about being in the spaces and about living in a past era where you needed blocks of ice and buckets of coal in your kitchen. I fabricated family drama, never realizing how tragic and complex real family dynamics could become. Here I want to explore the quiet spaces we inhabit where the objects themselves are full of history and the silence holds both joy and pain, evidence and mystery.
Replacing the dolls, silkworms and moths inhabit the space. Silkworms are extinct in the wild, only able to exist under the care of humans. They hatch from hundreds of freckle-sized eggs as tiny larvae and eat exclusively mulberry leaves, almost continually for four to five weeks. Then they never eat again. So many die; often slowly, appearing to suffer. If they live to spin, they become interested in their surroundings for the first and last time in their lives. Cocoon creation takes anywhere from a day to a week. Tucked away in their constructed safety it takes them two weeks to transform. They secrete a fluid that makes a hole from which they escape. They crawl out into the world as adult moths. This life lasts ten days at the most during which their only goals are to mate and lay eggs. Their wings are too short to allow flight. These brief weeks are lived in captivity; a slow careful dance with many variables leading to premature death.