Stay Home Sakoku: The Hikikomori Project (2012)
7-day "live in" performance and online chat
West Space ARI, 22-29 March 2012 and

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, 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’, through which everyone/anyone was invited to chat and participate in the project from their own networked phones, computers and lives. Without leaving the space or receiving any visitors, Lim relied on the kindness of others for food and survival. In August 2013, Eugenia will perform Stay Home Sakoku in Alice Springs (with support from Kultour and ArtbackNT).

Eugenia spent one week inhabiting the 5 x 5m back gallery at West Space (between 22 - 29 March 2012). Web cams streamed still images of her living in the gallery, 24/7. Check the Stay Home Sakoku project website for more information.

Also check out the project blog, a visual journal of Eugenia's journey through the internet in the hiki-room.


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 delivered 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, including Henri-Louis Bergson’s Time and Free Will (there is no negation in duration). I will post an updated inventory of all items collected at the end of my week. I will be on view from 5pm on Thursday 22 March until 5pm on Thursday 29 March 2012. Gallery hours are Wed - Fri 12-6pm and Sat 12pm-5pm. Online viewing during this time will occur via live-captured stills 24/7. I invite the networked world to participate via the hiki portal from the 22nd March 2012.

Eugenia Lim, March 2012

Photo documentation below by Eugenia Lim, Quino Holland and Georgie Sedgwick.