Lightning House DVD

Still image from “Lightning House” DVD by Scott Constable

LIGHTNING HOUSE: A Dion/Puett Residency
by R. Scott Constable; 30 minute DVD (2001) $50.00; comes with a print of Constable’s 14 page paper-bound journal from the project.
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Available for the first time exclusively at, this 30 minute documentary is the video archive of my 2001 residency at Mark Dion and Morgan Puett’s evolving property in Pennsylvania (now known as Mildred’s Lane). It is edited chronologically, with no other guiding narrative or voice-over.

I wanted to approach the creation of the video in the same spirit as the treehouse. The camera was treated as any other available tool, and was passed around to capture the project in real time. Shooting video was very much like gathering wood, making sandwiches or tending a fire, all of which contributed equally to building the structure.

My crew on the Lightning House project consisted of artists Mark Dion, Morgan Puett, Bob Braine, Hope Ginsburg, Allison Smith, Mitch Miller, Nils Norman, Brian Purcell, Rebecca Purcell, as well as occasional friends and neighbors.

To see a recent update to the project on these pages, please go here.

Foreward from the Lightning House Journal:

In the early months of 2001 I was invited by artists Morgan Puett and Mark Dion to be the first resident artist at their property in rural Northeastern Pennsylvania. I proposed building a treehouse as a continuation of my explorations of vernacular invention in ‘craft’ idiom. Central to these explorations is my use of available, ‘found’ material reflecting the bioregion, and a community building process, reflecting the hands and spirit of volunteer participants.

The primary design tool I employ is trust; trust in the material to reveal a structural program, and trust in the unique attributes of the volunteer community to to give shape to lasting patterns of use. There is no technical expertise or ‘mastery’ involved- only the collective willingness to suspend doubt and to pay attention to the project parameters of site and time. The secondary design tool I use is respect; respect for the tree (I allow only frictional and gravitational connections- no penetrations- giving the tree room to grow and flex) and respect for the life experience of all involved and all who will be involved in the evolution of the treehouse.