Week 4: Your Survival Base

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A couple of our Pillow Palace artists chose to use Minecraft in a more traditional way and recreate their optimum ‘survival base’ with food, water, shelter and tools. As well as the resources they needed to survive, their exhibits included the things that they needed to feel safe and happy.

When you come home from a difficult day at school, a long day at work, or an otherwise exhausting activity or event, your housing doesn’t necessarily feel like home yet. Four walls and a roof isn’t enough.

What builds your survival base, from the foundation to the roof?

Don’t worry about your most basic needs, they are all met, what are your other survival needs? Things that you cannot live without.


Find the things that make you feel content and at home in yourself. They could be anything – objects, actions, events, people, places or pets. What do you need to do to ground yourself? What do you need to feel safe? What creates your contentedness?

Are your survival needs physical? Do you need to surround yourself with safety, or does your process start from within? Are you moving and doing to create that sense of comfort, or are you sheltering and withdrawing yourself? Is it a short sequence that you can turn into a simple to-do list, or is it a lengthy process that consumes lots of time?

This final challenge is about acknowledging your rest and recovery as a part of a creative process. It can be done exclusively digitally or analogue, or a mixture of the two. Find your special things, whether they are virtual or physical. They can be whatever you want and need.

For Bea, flopping in bed with internet access, some music and a cosy blanket is enough for them to feel content in their body. But their survival isn’t really about relaxation at all, it’s actually about exploring the world at arms-length. Even though they are always tired, their brain is constantly whirring. They engage with the world from their bedroom – a place of minimised duress and energy expenditure – travelling via their computer screen is their preferred medium of exploration.

For Jill, survival is going for epic long walks by herself, watching the world go by, spotting little details, anywhere from loud urban streets to windy hilltops, as she calls it: “stomping”. She needs to move to feel at home in her body so when it’s not possible to go outside, she also loves dancing to loud music.

Together, we love to spend time in our Minecraft world. For both of us, Minecraft has been an incredibly healing and valuable activity. We spent six months building a whole city together! Whenever we can find the free time, we snuggle up and log into our survival world.


Pillow Palace is not simply a place to do and view, it’s an opportunity to completely immerse yourself in being your authentic self.

This challenge is very much about thinking as well as doing. We are inviting you to take time to engage in your native state of comfort as you: you are a visitor, exhibit and exhibitor to and for yourself. You might need to experiment and try this a few times to be able to give yourself permission to do this.

It’s not a self-care reminder; it’s an opportunity to be.


Think about how you could create a record or archive of these important things for yourself: the objects, activities and ideas that allow you to just be you, in total joy and comfort.

This is an opportunity to create something ready to share with your future self so that the next time you come home tired or fraught, those things are ready and accessible for you with less effort or thought.

Whatever it is, you don’t have to share this with anyone but yourself.