2078 Fifth Avenue

HORROR VACUI, in other words a fear of empty spaces, could be seen to have shaped the tightly stuffed home of New Yorker brothers Homer and Langley Collyer, whose reclusive existence has been the subject of fascination since their deaths over sixty years ago. After living alone together for almost three decades, Homer and Langley died within ten feet and one week of each other. Entombed in 103 tons of hoarded possessions in their Harlem home, Langley was killed by his own booby trap and Homer died later, helpless without his brother to care for him.

With the help of police photos and newspaper articles from the time of their death, ‘2078 Fifth Avenue’ reconstructs the Collyers’ home from the main material of their hoard – newspaper – and from gold leaf. The Collyers’ Harlem brownstone house was literally inseparable from its hoarded collection; following the brothers’ deaths, the hoard’s removal from the house led to the building’s collapse.