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Contemporary Art Gallery

555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, Canada
Open from Tuesday to
Sunday 12 pm → 6 pm

Admission always free
3 Mar 23

CAG Prize Residency

The Couch: Hometown II

CAG Lobby

The Couch, installation view from Hometown II.

This winter, CAG is pleased to host in its lobby a curatorial project by The Couch, entitled Hometown II. On view from February 9 to March 3, 2023, Hometown II features the work of A. Branch, Danielle Bobier, Kyla Dooley, Hannah Dubois, Ysabel Gana, and Pierre Kaufman.

Organized by Debbie C. and Sena Cleave, The Couch is a mobile art space that draws on the homemaking practices of carpenter ants to platform the work of emerging artists. Consisting of a couch and a coffee table, The Couch hosts gatherings that merge art and daily life, “infesting” galleries, living rooms, lobbies, outdoor public spaces and more. Art objects are exhibited on the table, and guests are invited to sit on the couch.

For Hometown II, The Couch's organizers issued a call for art objects inspired by their research into artist Kim Beom’s book “Hometown,” which they encountered in CAG’s Abraham Rogatnick Library:

First published in 1998 in Seoul, Korea, "Hometown" is about Ungyeri, a town that does not exist. Artist Kim Beom invites readers to learn about Ungyeri in order to claim it as their hometown, explaining that because the town does not exist, no one can contest these claims. The book acts as a guide for those who do not know their hometown or do not wish to reveal it though they have one. And “even if you do not have such a need,” Kim writes, “some of you may want to imagine a small, nameless mountain village or wish to have stories about places other than those that everybody recognizes by name or large, stifling cities.” He instructs readers on how to take on the qualities of a former Ungyeri resident, including details about the town’s location, customs, economics, and history.

In the preface to the English edition of the book, Kim adds “it would indeed have been ideal if I could have created a hometown for each of you somewhere in your own country that has an environment similar to those of other people’s hometowns.” We take this as an invitation to continue Kim’s work of imagining space and place, intervening in existing infrastructures, and playing with narratives of belonging. We invite submissions by emerging artists that explore these ideas or otherwise respond to Kim’s "Hometown."

This project is presented as part of The Couch’s CAG Prize Residency, awarded yearly to an outstanding graduating BFA student (or students) in SFU’s Visual Art Program. The Couch (Debbie C. & Sena Cleave) were the recipients of the 2022 CAG Prize.


The Couch is a mobile art space that draws on the homemaking practices of carpenter ants to platform the work of emerging artists. Carpenter ants chew faults into human infrastructures to build their own homes, but an infestation alone cannot demolish a building. Instead, the ants uncover the foundations by disturbing surface elements like window sills or baseboards. When The Couch is installed within a gallery, it carves out space for artists that the institution did not invite, thus infesting the gallery.