House for Sale explores the limits of autobiography through the manipulation of narrative juxtaposition and setting to create new stories and characters out of my memories. Moments from my life mixing humor, sadness, and mundanity are reenacted and digitally placed in a virtual space to undercut their veracity, placing them at the boundary of fiction and nonfiction. By imposing carefully-chosen semi-autobiographical episodes into new settings, House for Sale creates characters who, while endowed with parts of my life, have lives of their own in this virtual space. The video’s setting necessarily impacts how the viewer understands the characters, casting them in a different light than they might appear if placed somewhere else. However, the artificial imposition of the figures into the environment calls into question the degree to which the characters belong to the space. Furthermore, the specificity and disjointedness of the scenes coupled with the fact that I play all the characters suggests to viewers that the episodes may be based in memory. This interplay between the autobiographical and the artificially produced means the viewer’s experience is ultimately analogous to my own: the video evokes the feelings of both truth and fiction.
The setting of House for Sale is a luxury real estate website’s 3D rendering of a real house that was, at the time the video was conceived of, for sale in Ojai, California for several million dollars. Toward the end of the video’s production, the house was sold, and the 3D rendering is no longer available online.
House for Sale is the first in a series of videos that will explore how setting and selective memory affect storytelling, character, and truth.
Nan Munger is a senior majoring in Art Practice and minoring in Education at Stanford University. Her previous work has generally centered around perceptions of the body, often seeking to unsettle the viewer and find nuance in that which disturbs. She is currently interested in exploring the malleability of memory and former identities through recontextualizing items and stories associated with her past. She works primarily in video, drawing, and painting. As her time at Stanford draws to a close, Nan looks forward to the opportunity to further develop her artistic practice outside of the structure of classwork and to pursue work that engages her interests in both art and education.