The Written Image: Home for an Hour

From the May/June 2015 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

The stage is set: seven couples, one key, one day, one hour at a time.” This is how artist Adam Moser describes his collaborative interdisciplinary project Home for an Hour ( In February 2014, Moser invited seven couples to each spend an hour by themselves in his apartment in Greensboro, North Carolina. The couples were given free rein to do whatever they wanted, with no one watching. Meanwhile, outside the apartment building, on the snowed-over lawn, fiction writer Jacob Paul (pictured above) was composing a story—purely fictional, and with no revisions—about each of them. In one story, a participant meditates on what the word common means; another story imagines a couple’s conversation while they sit in Moser’s apartment drinking a box of wine. Photographer Sarah Martin took photos of each couple twice: first at the beginning of the hour and again at the end, in order to document any changes the guests had made inside the apartment. One couple baked cookies while others rearranged furniture and performed other mundane tasks. Moser, who is interested in socially engaged art that is site specific, collaborative, and participatory, wanted to play on how personal spaces reflect the people who live there. The trio self-published the stories and photos in the 2014 book Home for an Hour, and exhibited the project from December 2014 to January 2015 at the Phillips Gallery in Salt Lake City. At the show’s premiere, the Flying Bobcat Theatrical Laboratory performed an adaptation of Paul’s stories in a van parked outside the gallery. Visitors to the exhibit were invited to sit in the van’s front seats and observe the performance. Paul says, “Home for an Hour was like a massive practical joke that kept—keeps—yielding surprise gifts.”