Mike Steinhauer

About this work

Your Dream Starts Here is a work composed of real estate signs and a web page. Fourteen ‘New Listing’ signs were affixed to vacant commercial properties along Montreal Road and Beechwood Avenue in Ottawa. The listings were posted on a standard realty website—a site featuring a slideshow of local landmarks, property listings, and tools for sellers and prospective buyers. 


Struck by the potential of the empty storefronts along both main streets, Steinhauer created the subversive work to highlight the challenging relationship between property owners, the neighbourhood within which the vacant properties are located, and the impact of inaction (and the speculative market) on the community.


The polished design of the signs and asinine slogans (‘Everything we touch turns to SOLD!’ and ‘Your dream starts here!’) question the marketing tools used by realty firms enticing clients to buy or sell properties and promising change to the community at large.    


The ‘New Listing’ signs follow the traditional 18” x 24” Coroplast realty signs. A stock photograph of a generic realtor holding a small property in his hands is visible on both website and signs. The firm’s website and contact information follows.


The signs were affixed by Steinhauer to fourteen properties in 2013. Some were removed by the owner within the first few days; others lasted for several months without anyone noticing. The website itself, vanierrealty.com, was accessible until the end of 2017 and generated enquires from realtors, developers and City of Ottawa officials trying to locate landowners. The phone number, (613) 712-SOLD, was active during the first months of the project and led to a recorded message.


Click here for the visual documentation of this project.

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