Is someone who lives in temporary housing still homeless? For this project, I explored this question with hand-embroidered internet reviews of the motel where a family member has lived since August 2016. Hung on cheap towel racks, these reviews are embroidered on used linens and bordered by used towels with unfinished raw edges. While the domestic associations with hand embroidery and quilting gesture toward home-making, the unfinished presentation stops short of achieving that goal -- because while my family member is housed, they are not home.
While this work has personal origins, it has grown much beyond her family member’s story. As Ross-Gotta sorted through the reviews, she became fascinated by what she learned about the community at this motel: from dirty linens and noise complaints, to reviews written by homeless people and reviews that complain about the homeless people who live there.
Ross-Gotta has color-coded the stars on the reviews to highlight these trends:
Red - drugs, sex workers
Orange - dirt, bugs
Yellow - linen and towel complaints
Green - review written by someone who lives there
Blue - reference to the people who stay there by other reviewers
Purple - references to danger
Black - no reference in particular
Ross-Gotta welcomes viewers to gently remove the reviews from the towel racks, to sit, read and then carefully replace the reviews when the viewers are finished.