Digital image, dimensions variable, 2012. Stay Home Sakoku: The Hikikomori Project was an introverted performance exploring the impact of virtual worlds and online communications on "real world" human relationships and bodies, using the Japanese phenomenon of hikikomori or ‘shut in’ syndrome as its framework. Over one week, Eugenia Lim inhabited a bedroom-style installation within West Space gallery, Melbourne. Although physically ‘on view’ to gallery goers, communication between herself and the outside world occurred via the Stay Home Sakoku web portal or ‘hiki-site’. Without leaving the space or receiving any visitors, Lim relied on the kindness of others for food, communications and survival.
"I, Eugenia Lim, will retreat from physical society for one week. I will stay within the four walls of the 5m x 5m back-space at West Space gallery, never going outside. I will not speak to anyone or receive any visitors. I will bring in only essentials, including objects for a digital life. I will post an inventory of all items on the hiki-portal before I enter the space. For nourishment, I will bring in only water. I will depend on the kindness of strangers and the local community for my food and survival. Meals may be elivered through a 20cm tall x 140cm wide flap at the bottom of the door. Gifts are welcome, otherwise all media and entertainment I consume will not take a physical form: everything I watch, listen, play and read will be via the internet."