Winner of the Klaas Dijkstra Academy award / Co-winner Long Live Art Price

I am Esme and I live in IKEA – in dialogue with IKEA Groningen in search of the perfect imperfect

I am Esmé and I live at IKEA, but you won’t find me. All I leave behind is a trace of my presence’

Intervention consisting of 15 installations. The fictional character Esmé uses IKEA on her mission to find the perfect imperfect.

The promise of fantasy – the multinational company that invaded my world and I hers.

For my installation, I used the two floors of the store as a theater telling the story of the young divorced wife, and mother of a 9 year old son, Esmé, who lives at IKEA. Nobody can find her.
All she leaves is traces of her presence in the form of three videos, one of which is hidden in a drawer, small and large installations, weckpots throughout the store, a desk with her notebook, a table where people can write her a letter Write her hair high on the ceiling in the warehouse and her bedroom. The entire intervention consists of 15 installations, turning the IKEA store in one big installation. The main character uses IKEA for her mission to find the perfect imperfection.

However, the most important part of the work remains invisible; The many conversations and dialogues conducted with the many employees about autonomy, rules, searching and exceeding rules, fantasy vs reality. The multinational penetrating my world and vice versa. The final journey itself was the means, the storyline the medium.

Visitors could track her traces made visible on all IKEA’s blue floor plans, starting in the living room where she was secretly retracted. Esmé shows her presence by disrupting IKEA’s furnished rooms. Esmé’s story line making disruptions the new normal for a week.

The 6-month project was mainly intended for IKEA staff, I started my dialogue by going to management and asking if they were aware that a single mother had moved into the store who had dimensions there found something they didn’t know about. After the intense collaboration, in which I had a studio space in the location, the entire installation could be followed for customers for a week. They could follow Esmé’s tracks via a specially marked route, visible on all known blue signs with a map in the store. She started in the living room where she secretly moved in. Esmé showed her presence by making IKEA’s furnished rooms ‘not correct’, visitors were always surprised with unusual interventions. Normally that is not possible at IKEA, Esmé’s storyline made sure that what is normally not correct, was for a week.

I'm Esmé and I live at IKEA, but you can't find me. Everything I leave behind is a trace of my presence.