Artist's Statement

Esha Chiocchio

(Un)Common Life explores the personalities and passions of those who live in The Commons on the Alameda, a 27-year-old co-housing community in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Among its 28 houses, the Commons is home to families, couples and singles ranging in age from 1 to 97.

As a resident, I feel our co-housing neighborhood functions like a beehive, where each member fills a role and provides an important service to the whole. This portrait series is a sub-set of a larger project about life in the Commons, wherein I asked each of my 76 fellow residents to bring something that expressed their unique character, passion or connection to the community.

My goal is to highlight our shared humanity, diverse interests and desire for connection. The Harvard Study of Adult Development revealed that, “close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives.” To that end, the Commons provides an environment to foster frequent interactions and a social structure that encourages healthy relationships.

Communities like these give me hope. In a country fraught with division and challenged by climate change, The Commons provides an example of people sharing their talents for the well-being of the whole, enjoying the benefits of a tight-knit village-like neighborhood and working through differences via consensus-based decision-making.

Through this project, I seek opportunities to shine a light on the importance of community and the benefits of co-housing.