Ethan Hayes-Chute treehouse

Shacks occupy a strange place in society. On the one hand, outdated and dilapidated dwellings come to mind. On the other hand, such otherwise-sad shanty structures conjure visions of peace, quiet and personal freedom and lived-in comfort as well.

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Ethan Hayes-Chute shack installation
Ethan Hayes-Chute cabin

Ethan Hayes-Chute takes found objects and turns them into quaint huts and half-collapsed homes, over and over and over again. Some are wrapped around real living trees, while others are set inside museums, contrasting starkly with white walls all around.

Ethan Hayes-Chute shack walls

A page for his exhibition at the MIT List Visual Arts Center described his work thusly: “Ethan Hayes-Chute’s installations, sculptures, drawings, text pieces, and performances explore ideas of self-sufficiency and self-preservation as alternative models for living. He constructs small, near-functional cabins and partial interiors out of entirely salvaged materials; the structures variously make reference to landscapes on the margin, life off the grid, ecology and waste. Many of Hayes-Chutes’s sculptures and installations use technology to solve everyday problems. He programs nearly obsolete computers for practical applications, lending retro-futuristic undertones to his rustic assemblages.”

Ethan Hayes-Chute bed
Ethan Hayes-Chute detail

Quirky and rough around the edges, these creative assemblages of found and upcycled materials create spaces that are truly one-of-a-kind. Only handmade labor and these kinds of cheap salvaged components can achieve this feeling.

Ethan Hayes-Chute by MIT

Born on the east coast of the United States – an area famed for its quaint cottages and regional vernacular architecture – this builder is not just creating a sense of nostalgia, nor simply tapping into emotional reactions. He is, in a sense, telling stories of historical and personal fantasy, blending old yarns into modern tales free of simplistic morality or happy endings … somewhere between fiction and folk art.

Ethan Hayes-Chute was born in 1982 and grew up in Freeport, Maine. He received his BFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2004. Through paintings, sculptures, large-scale installations and artist’s books, he explores the ideas of self-sufficiency, self-preservation and self-exclusion as models for living. Ethan Hayes-Chute is based in Berlin, Germany.”