In response to Mattingly’s concerns about the impact of climate change on human habitats, she began building a series of mobile, self-sufficient living systems known as Flock Houses. Designed to be adaptable to different environments, including urban and rural areas, these structures can serve a variety of purposes, such as living quarters, community gathering spaces, or agricultural sites. 

At Socrates, the use of this Flock House in Ebb of a Spring Tide will evolve alongside the needs of the exhibition, beginning as a growing space and evolving into a dwelling. Visitors are invited to use this space for shelter, contemplation, and creativity. The garden that surrounds this dome is growing an array of plants that will be used to naturally develop photographs later in the summer. For more information on community and artist-led workshops at the Flock House, please visit our website.


Mary Mattingly discusses Flock House in the exhibition Ebb of a Spring Tide.


Mary Mattingly: Flock House is a project I started in 2012, small spheres or habitats that plug into existing infrastructure. Often times utilizing excess from the surrounding buildings. They had portable gardens, solar units, and everything to make a small modular system habitable. I imagine that they would be more and more relevant with the displacement due to weather events, desertification, and rising sea levels as cities would begin to operate more informally. Sharing resources like energy systems and water collection systems. While I grew up on the East Coast, I’ve lived all over the country and beyond. And these itinerant Flock Houses structures felt especially relevant to me, as I often carried around my possessions – which are such a weight, sometimes – to another temporary dwelling, for work or for a residency, always returning to home in New York.

The flock house felt like home again after I moved from the flooding apartment and searched for a new home in a city with rising rents and a dearth of available units. This summer I will inhabit the flock house at different times, and use it as a studio. In part, I’ll work on photographic project, experimenting with a dye garden and a photographic garden for help developing black and white prints. Please join me later in the summer, for photographic workshops.