How we moved from art sharing to homesharing
Newsletter Article #32
10 years ago, in December 2009, the UN COP15 Climate Summit was happening in Copenhagen. All hotels were booked out and our first-ever hospitality campaign – “New Life Copenhagen” – had spent the year securing free homestays for more than 3,000 climate activists with local hosts.
We began this first hospitality project to help solve a practical housing need for the visiting activists during COP15. However, as the feedback from guests and hosts began pouring in, we realized that the most powerful thing we had provided was not the access to shelter – but all the human meetings arising from the sharing of guest rooms and couches!
This is how we got into homesharing as a powerful tool for connecting people.
The people-connecting itself we had already been working with for quite some time through our socially-engaged art practice.
A very short version of our full story goes like this: We were kids, met in high school, and had an idea of building an online network for artists to collaborate, inspire each other, and break the isolation of their individual studio practices.
This was in 2002, long before social networks were a thing – and our Wooloo.org art community launched exactly one year before MySpace! (if you remember MySpace 🙂 ) Today, Wooloo.org is being used by more than 40,000 artists to collaborate on projects and residency programs. (The site is way overdue for a UX update, but we’ll get there..).
It was through the power of our Wooloo artist community we got momentum when building the first host network for COP15-going activists in 2009. One of our activist guests is on the photo above. A Peruvian shaman doing a ritual for Mother Earth using the Christmas candles of her Copenhagen host during COP15 in December 2009.
Back then, we had no idea how much this project would end up influencing our entire practice.
The year following COP15, we were contacted by a major bicycling conference happening in Copenhagen. They needed help accommodating their delegates from the Global South with low budgets. And from there, one homesharing campaign focused on purpose-over-profit brought the next along.
The first time we took Human Hotel beyond Copenhagen, was to support the Occupy Wall. St. protester of NYC a few years later (2011). Hosting occupiers in need of shelter and spreading the movement through hospitality and personal meetings.
Wherever we bring the community (or rather, where the community brings us), the formula is the same:
People need places to stay + The world needs more meaningful meetings = Human Hotel.
140,000 Visitors to our Exhibition
Last Sunday, December 1st, was the final day of the exhibition “The Coming World: Ecology as the New Politics 2030–2100” at GARAGE Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow.
The exhibition featured an installation of community host portraits by Human Hotel, as well as the ongoing development of an avant-garde people matching algorithm whose purpose is to better connect our members with fellow creators around the world.
The goal being to create more reasons to collaborate and share among our community members.
During its five months-run, the GARAGE exhibition brought in more than 140.000 visitors, making it the second most visited exhibition in the museum’s history.
Diving deep into an environmental agenda that has never been touched on such a large scale by an art institution in Russia before, we were happy to be part of the statement.
Photos by Ventiko