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MAK Center artists create mobile McMansion in Victorville

The pair are pushing the model home through the city, recording the reactions of residents.

August 29, 2009|Nicole Davidson and Alina Sookasian

With doors too small to be a child's playhouse and a roof too high for doggy digs, the mystery of the miniature model home is exactly what artists Wouter Osterholt, 30, and Elke Uitentuis, 32, wanted passersby to ponder.

The Dutch design duo, artists in residence at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in West Hollywood, created a piece dubbed "McMansion" -- a model of a two-story, traditional-style Victorville home. The artists then wheeled the house across the high desert community, finishing their 12-day mobile experiment earlier this week after covering about 10 miles of city streets.

Why Victorville? According to Osterholt and Uitentuis, a city with about 100,000 residents, rising crime rates and a struggling real estate market stands as the epitome of everything that can go wrong in recession-era Southern California.

The artists interviewed about three dozen people as they made their curious crusade, recording citizens as they talked about the impact of the financial crisis on their slice of suburbia. The artists' blog shows how popular the mini house was with children (not to mention a vandal), and Osterholt reports that he and Uitentuis are editing down 18 hours of video into a documentary of their journey to be presented at the Schindler House in West Hollywood in early September. Until then, you can see more of their journey on the blog: www.wouterelke.nl/losangeles.

-- Nicole Davidson and Alina Sookasian

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