Shelter in Place

Country: UK
Duration: 19 mins
|10 Seconds
Sound: Stereo
Ratio: 16:9


Taking as a starting point Phlocus’ poem ‘In The Monster’s Mouth’, written during his time living in a public park, three screens explore the notion of public space, who has access to it, and what it means to be ‘in public’. To ‘shelter-in-place’ is a military order, and implemented during times of emergency, for example, it would be an instruction to remain within the building one already occupies, not evacuating the area or seeking a community emergency shelter. What when one is unhoused?Performance artist and musician Phlocus became unhoused during lockdown. A public park became his long-term shelter. Over the many months, a community slowly formed around him. This is a portrait of his being in the park (middle screen), of the park itself (right screen), and of those who gathered (left screen). Sound and image are frequently out of synch, just as so much of the world is.I am drawn in my making to lives lived at the edges, even if – and perhaps especially when – those lives are first glimpsed at the ‘centre’ of things, often in the public eye, visible but not seen. This work can only exist because we have public parks (and this especially tolerant park in particular). I met William, who was in the park, because he had to be, and also because he could be. Therefore, this is a work made from a necessity, and the meeting in and of a particular place and time. It is a work that becomes about (im)possibility. It believes in how public spaces are the common good of and for all. But it also explores how a falling out of the structures that exist – often ramshackle and excluding – makes another form of survival necessary.William does not fit comfortably into the expectations we have of someone who is without shelter. He struck me as both being entirely here and also elsewhere, in that he was ‘out of time’ – not at the end of things but freed from them. Together we started thinking of how, when we talk about care, we as a society might include those who have no recourse to public funds, including those who are undocumented or have no bank account. How to account for the uncounted? We also thought about journeys in life, how to live and grow and avoid being dependent on the recognition of others, while often needing it for food or protection.We spoke of how proper shelter is about far more than just a structure, about how a space – an actual place, even one without walls – can seed and grow a community, and how rules enforceable by the state and state violence can unmake such an assembly.- Andrea Luka ZimmermanCommissioned by Estuary Festival 2021, Metal Southend

More works by Andrea Luka Zimmerman

, 2002
15 Minutes

We’d love to hear from you

If you would like to speak to a member of our team, please get in touch


LUX, Waterlow Park Centre,
Dartmouth Park Hill, London, N19 5JF, UK

Telephone: +44 (0)20 3141 2960

Sign up to our newswire to stay up to date with everything LUX

LUX is a registered charity and not-for-profit company limited by guarantee:

Company No: 4421812
VAT No: 795 9063 73
Charity No: 1094936

Artis Council Supported Logo

© 2021 LUX. All rights reserved.

Skip to content