Lily Benson

A Tour of the Self Cleaning House

(2 minute excerpt)

HD Video. 11 minutes. 2015.

Written and Directed by Lily Benson
Music: Doron Sadja
Voiceover: Kellie Fitzgerald
World Premiere at Copenhagen International Documentary Festival (CPH:DOX), 2015

The Self Cleaning House is a patented invention by Francis Gabe of Newberg, Oregon, USA. The house has been widely celebrated and recognized as an accomplishment for women’s role in science and as a clever method to liberate women from housework. It was even partially reconstructed in the Women’s Museum in Dallas, Texas.

When I visited the prototype that Francis Gabe was still occupying in 2007, I discovered that the actual realization of the invention idea was a minor disaster. It was cluttered and hazardous, which made it difficult to believe that the home had ever been a working invention.

In this video, 3D rendered environments were constructed to create the fantasy version of the Self Cleaning House as a fully functional home, based on the ideas laid out in its patent. There is an odd disparity between the importance of The Self Cleaning House as a concept, versus its condition in reality.


New York Times

Daily Mail





BBC Spanish

“The demo video looks a lot like the tongue-in-cheek simulation of Gabe’s house, made by artist Lily Benson after a visit to the real thing. In this low-fi CGI treatment, comically unrealistic blobs of water pour chaotically over the kitchen furniture. It makes the downsides obvious, but it also shows just how much Gabe’s vision resembles other grand concepts like space elevators or Elon Musk’s Hyperloop. Every big idea looks ridiculous in its early stages.” – Lifehacker

“I have often felt alone in my hatred of housework, but you and Frances Gabe have helped me face yet another day. Thanks again!” – NYTimes Reader

Email lily(at) for a screener copy.