Open House is a new computer application and installation by Jack Stenner and Patrick LeMieux which allows virtual guests from around the world to remotely control physical aspects of a "distressed" house in Gainesville, FL. The house at 1617 NW 12 Rd. is currently abandoned and in financial limbo due to the US housing collapse. Virtual markets transformed this otherwise livable property into a ghost house. Now Open House allows individuals to repopulate this disenfranchised space and assume the role of virtual squatters–opening the doors, flickering the lights, rattling the shutters, and remotely occupying the abandoned property. Live video feedback integrates real-time physical effects with one's virtual actions and multiplayer functionality allows for many people to live in the house at once. Simply download and run the application, so, you too can manipulate that sacred icon, the American home.
Jack Stenner is an artist who has worked with interactivity, video, and installation since the mid 1990s. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Media Art at the University of Florida. His work revolves around issues related to our socio-culturally constructed "reality" and the ways we create meaning from our environment. He is interested in form, space, place and the ways meaning is embedded, manipulated and transcoded during the process of communication. Combining techniques from information retrieval and visualization, content analysis, motion tracking, video gaming, computer aided design and experimental video, he seeks to create experiences that encourage us to reconsider our relationships with the world around us.
Patrick LeMieux is an artist and media scholar who received his MFA from the University of Florida in 2010 and is currently a PhD student in the Department of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies at Duke University. His artwork, scholarship, teaching, and curatorial activity are centered around networked and programmable media, gallery analytics, and videogames. He has recently exhibited artwork in the Tampa Museum of Art, FSU Museum of Fine Arts, and the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art.
A number of people also provided support through offering advice and contributing their time and expertise. Thank you Daniel Tankersley for your invaluable help with the rapid prototyping. Thank you Josh Cajinarobleto and Steven LeMieux for your work maintaining the site installation. Thank you Natalja Thomen and Lisa Ricci for accomodating us. Thanks you Stephanie and Jean Boluk for your help editing our writing. Thanks are also due to Stephanie and Sydney Stenner for putting up with us all summer.
Lastly, thanks to our beta testers for finding all of those problems: Max Becher, Stephanie Boluk, Josh Cajinarobleto, Adam Grayson, Steven LeMieux, Jacob LeMieux, Chase Smith, Stephanie Stenner, Daniel Tankersley, and Wesley Wilson.