When the hospitality company AirBnB reached out to two of their French customers if they could host an executive party at their Paris apartment, the couple happily obliged. However, a year after the seemingly ordinary event took place, they found out that their guests did not only enjoy their stay, but that the company had effectively designed a space in its San Francisco headquarters to strikingly resemble their home – even exactly copying pictures they had hung up in their kitchen. Subsequently, the couple sued AirBnB for infringing their product, that is “the way they curated the objects in their apartment”, complaining that “they are branding their company with our life.”¹
However, AirBnB’s ruse comes as no surprise, considering that their business models is exactly that: to create the global, ubiquitous model living room which its customers never have to leave on their travels. Consequently, AirBnB assimilates locally contained stylistic varieties of whatever is thought to constitute coziness in order to define and standardise its own corporate interpretation. Rather than cherishing diversity, AirBnB has created a baseline standard of living, a bare minimum arrangement of furniture and amenities. In addition to helping to seize living space from tense housing markets, AirBnB effectively anonymises them, even when there are still regular tenants.
Tokyo Shitamachi Projects is asking for proposals for its first and last exhibition titled “Home sweet home” which are concerned with the reclaiming of disenfranchised spaces, engage with partisan actions, seek to strengthen local social relations or are otherwise calling to resist corporate interests over private living matters.
Video and printed works are welcome. Given its nature, Tokyo Shitamachi Projects can unfortunately only accommodate for video works up to HD (one 32“ screen, two mobile phones) and up to six printed works up to 30x40cm in size to be displayed in lacquered white frames. Upon acceptance, all works need to be transmitted digitally. Photography and graphical art works will be printed locally.
Send proposals to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline: March 7th, 12:00am JST / 04:00pm CET.
¹ Kyle Chayka: French couple sues Airbnb for copying their apartment. New York Magazine Intelligencer, 19th November 2015.