planning your Alternative Reality Hut: who, how, where

Building an alternative reality hut should be undertaken as an imagination experiment. Imagine for a moment that things are real in the same way that you and I are real. Imagine that they have an actual, material existence that only partially coincides with our experience of them.  Pretend for a moment that objects have material capabilities other than the use designated by humans. Play along with the possibility that a thing is an entity, a being of sorts that is dissimilar from ourselves. Now that your thing is an autonomous entity, you can allow yourself to will feel the kindness of things. Let’s play.

Who: of all the things in your home which ones will you call on to construct your alternative reality hut? Do you want a soft draped blanket hut (blankets, bedsheets, drop cloth, tarpaulin) or a planar construction from rigid sheet objects (cardboard, MDF, an old door, a sheet of corrugated iron.) Do you have unrefined organic things you can invite in? (A tree branch, a large potted plant, some bamboo, some autumn leaves.) Should this alternative reality be brightly coloured and patterned or soothing with soft colours and dim light?

What things have you got that could make a structure: an outdoor umbrella, a ladder, some brooms, a rope between door handles. A pile of boxes, a bicycle, the sofa, a bookshelf. What things in your home might enclose or form walls?

How: Will your hut be freestanding, or will it hang from the ceiling, the wall or a tree? Will it be low so you have to crawl in, or do you want it to be somewhat lofty see can lie down and look up? Angular? Rounded? Or maybe domed like a tent.

Where: is your alternative reality hut going to be in the middle of a room filling the space or tucked into a corner? Might it include others – a sofa, your bed or a tree?

Today, rest with your objects and contemplate the quiet kindness of things.

idea shares: some huts I have made over the past few years

DIY alternative reality Hut: a participatory art-structure for customising post-normal living.


Wednesday 22 – Monday 27 April

Follow on Instagram for step-by-step guidelines on how to customise your lockdown zone into a smaller but more friendly Alternative Reality Hut. Share handy hints on ways in which you might reconfigure the things (objects, materials, furniture and other stuff) with whom you share your covid19 bubble. share photos of your hut-in progress on the Alternative Reality Hut community Facebook page

Saturday 24 April – Collect the things you would like to share your alternative reality with. make a plan for how these things could make a hut that you could fit inside.

Be Kind and inclusive (Consult and involve all who inhabit the space, animal, vegetable or mineral.)

Build small and intimate. (just big enough to accommodate those who share your bubble sitting close together.)

Sunday 26 April – DIY: ALTERNATIVE REALITY HUTMAKING DAY! build your alternative reality hut with the things that you have in your home.

Thought experiment: what happens if you think of it as collaborating with the entities with whom you cohabit and constructing an alternative reality hut together?

share pics of your alternative reality hut, along with a one-sentence speculation on your hopes for a new normal here in Aotearoa on

relax and dwell with the quiet kindness of things: spend some time in this dwelling within a dwelling. Let your mind wander. Take time to see your things from a literal and metaphoric new perspective.

8pm – 9.30pm Together Apart #1 meeting the neighbours: a zoom drop-in session to share your alternative reality hut

 Monday 27 April – relax and dwell with the quiet kindness of things: Let your mind wander a little further. Take time to see, sense, think and feel your things from a literal and metaphoric new perspective.

11am – 1pm Together Apart #2: alternative reality stories. Zoom in from the comfort of your hut and share an alternative reality story. It might be something you have dreamed of in your hut. It might be an alternative reality you would like to see as our new normal. Or you might choose to share the experience dwelling in your alternative reality hut or to reflect on the quiet kindness of things. (bring a picnic, a coffee, a glass of wine)