Video, 13.00 min




Camera and Edit: Emelie Carlén

Text and Voice over: Emelie Carlén

Sound technician: Sofia Neves

Music: Sanne Dasseville

Supported by:

Association Cap Moderne

The City of Prague Museum

Victoria and Albert Museum

The Albertina Museum

Statens Kunstfond



Helge Ax:son Johnsson Stiftelse



Different houses come with different presumptions. What it is for and why it was built. Maybe out of a need, a longing, or just a brick in the play for social democracy. Some houses are left with poisonings in the walls, some create it during time, some attract spiders, some don't. Some vanish, some get to stay protected forever.


In haunted houses ghosts drift around. The cracking sound in old wooden floors makes us shiver from fright, the unseen that scares us in the darkest night. These houses are haunted, but not in the same way. They were built for someone else, their original purpose are still there to be seen, but we enhance them through a narrated mystery. Fiction takes over when there is nothing more to be said. Like a choir we will be miming in the back when the ghosts conduct the narration of this play.


When you whisper a line of words in someones ear, what later is re-told never sound the same. A shifting in meaning were new words come to take each others place. When words are set free they are left alone bouncing around from mouth to mouth, creating a life on its own. There is no way to stop its course, no way to control its fate. Gossip travels in infinity. But in some cases, an event disrupts its spin, aims and shoots it dead, sets an end to what it has grown to be.


In archives histories are left to be found, this is where traces hide, a narrative making you question what has been re-told in current times. The relation between the archive and the house is much alike, but here the clues are polished, dust free and clean, an invisible hand that is labouring the unseen. As a ghost that is maintaining its outward facade, to give the impression that nothing has ever changed. A house as a set, as an archive in itself where a constant rehearsal takes place, restoring it as it once was claimed.


Eileen Gray's house E1027 has almost become a myth of its own. For a long time it was thought to be built by Le Corbusier, because he without her consent marked his territory by painting nine murals inside and built a line of huts overlooking her house. Now history group them together, him as her inspired one. It is hard to tell what is the truth, what has been narrated over time and what has been left to dust in archives. The house carries a lot of tales, like the one on how it curses some owners to deadly fates. For Le Corbusier it ended with a morning swim that took his life.


But the story also contains another track, new clues that makes us rewind back in time.


In 1923 the annual alternative art exhibition Salon d'Automne was held in Paris. This was a few years before Gray started to built her house. On display at the exhibition was Villa Moissi, a house designed by Adolf Loos. The same year Eileen Gray made a drawing out of crayons that she named “Three storey house, after Adolf Loos' Villa Moissi”. It shows how she starts to work with a levelling of the house, a resemblance to Loos' idea of the 'Raumplan'. In E1027 she took this further where she challenged the traditional binary order of the rooms, a de-construction of the very idea of the floorplan. For Loos different rooms were pre-inscribed according to its inhabitants' role, where a distinction was made between the masculine public facade and its feminine private inner parts.


In historical writings, Loos is portrayed as a genius, protesting against current norms, creating a universe of his own. In 1928 he completed Villa Moller. A house with an outgoing lodge resting over the entrance. Villa Moissi was flat, a cube with no extras. Gray's drawing for “Three storey house” looked the same, except for one detail; an overhanging alcove placed above the entrance. A sketch she made five years before Adolf Loos' Villa Moller stood completed.


Le Corbusier and Adolf Loos are often portrayed side by side, two sides of the modernist prime time. They will always be read through the dust from their ghosts, a prevailing of a facade so that nothing else can take it away. To repeat is to follow a line of ideas, a space where old perspectives refuse to retreat. Gossip changes its lines throughout the years. In archives we come upon clues that brings back the ones that have disappeared.


When digging through the material of hundreds of models carefully placed in plexiglass, suddenly one carbon box appears. It stands out on the shelf with large words written on it: "Totenmaske Loos”. No one could tell what it was doing down here. When picking it off from the shelf, hidden at the very far back a precise model of E1027 appears before our eyes. How did they end up here side by side? A house with so many hidden ghosts hunting to hide its actual tale. As if Adolf Loos is watching over, protecting or hiding Eileen Gray's house.


We take down the box, to reveal its inside, a white calm face is staring back at us. The death mask of Adolf Loos.