Keller Easterling

Call it Home: The House That Private Enterprise Built is a history of suburbia from 1934–1960. Keller Easterling and Richard Prelinger originally compiled Call it Home in 1992, and The Voyager Company published it as a laserdisc. In the intervening years, with the laserdisc format retired, there have been many requests for an alternative version of this early experiment with new media as a tool of scholarship. With support from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Easterling, Prelinger and producer Tal Schori have now reproduced the disc as a DVD and booklet. Call it Home combines 55 minutes of running footage and 2800 stills culled from federal, educational and commercial repositories across the country together with two tracks of archival sound and commentary. The material resets the story of suburbia in the US by focusing on its origins in the depression rather than the post war era. Originally conceived as an economic instrument to stabilize banks and a flagship industry capable of providing jobs, the early suburban house was poised to become both the germ of explosive post war exurban growth and the economic indicator that it remains today. Call it Home provides evidence of suburbia’s DNA in: New Deal planning, federal promotion of home ownership, FHA protocols for community, prefabrication experiments, new construction technologies, the Interstate Highway, early marketing techniques, and the styling of domestic interiors among many other things. Viewers can navigate the DVD as either a continuous set of footage sequences or as a more contemplative document that moves between clips and stills. The ten major topics that organize this two-disc set serve as a base from which to create many branching explorations through the collection. The two discs and booklet are sold separately on Amazon.