Mobile House for Urban Migrant Workers

Jenny Polak

Mobile House for Urban Migrant Workers

Wood, plywood, Weathertyte vinyl, clear vinyl, Coroplast, flashing, hoses, paint

With tongue-in-cheek, Jenny Polak’s Mobile House for Urban Migrant Workers suggests a fictional solution for housing urban migrant workers who might not otherwise be able to afford or secure housing. Due to the ordinances and zoning laws now being passed to keep the migrant, often undocumented workers from renting, many of these people are forced to withstand living in dire, often unsanitary conditions. Conceptualized in response to the housing units manufactured by DesignCorps, which have been marketed successfully to farmers in rural areas in need of housing for temporary workers, Polak’s work offers a design paradigm for the transient work force in urban areas. Camouflaged as a truncated tree stump, the two-story, mobile unit features a modest living and sleeping quarters, a rainwater collection system and solar-powered lighting. The housing unit, which recalls the common childhood fantasy of living in a tree house, also doubles as a hiding place; a common design element in most of Polak’s recent work

. – J.D.

This project is, in part, supported by The
Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in
the Fine Arts.

Jenny Polak, an activist and humanist, is from London and an alumna of Whitney Independent Study Program (1993). She received an MFA from New York’s School of Visual Arts (1992) and has exhibited her work at many venues including the Newark Museum, NJ (2006), Islip Art Museum, NY (2003), Exit Art (2003), and Rush Arts Gallery, NY (1999, 1996).