Home Alone – A Survival Guide

Words: Chekii Harling

Found yourself with a lot more time on your hands? Fear not: satirical artist Max Siedentopf has devised the ultimate boredom-buster. His interactive Instagram project, ‘Home Alone – A Survival Guide’, is jam-packed with 100 challenges to kickstart your imagination. We caught up with the king of unconventional DIY to chat about resourceful creativity and the power of social media to bring us together. 

What inspired you to create ‘Home Alone – A Survival Guide’? 

‘Home Alone – A Survival Guide’ was created at the start of the lockdown in the UK. Everyone I spoke to was stuck at home with nothing to do, so I decided to turn my apartment upside down and capture the results: piling up cans as sculptures, tinkering with haute-couture costumes, turning vacuum cleaners into robots, building traps, and inventing bizarre alternatives to toilet paper. I decided to publish these actions as a series of instructions on social media – around five to 10 different ones each day – and invited followers worldwide to re-enact the challenges.

The handy survival guide now consists of various chapters which, ironically, illuminate survival in isolation at home – from “invent a new meal” to “make a painting using toothpaste” to “balance all your beauty products on top of each other”. After two weeks of confinement, more than 1,000 photos were made by people all around the world.

Submission by: @igormoura and @maruglik
Submission by: @sinusgalacticus


I think humour is probably a gut reaction to how I process what’s

happening around me.

Submission by: @aki.nah
Submission by: @andrearuschetti

How did you come up with so many great briefs?

I just walked around my home until something popped into my head. 


What role does humour play in your work?  

That’s a tricky question. I never try to make work that’s funny, but I think humour is probably a gut reaction to how I process what’s happening around me. Generally speaking, I think there is far too much work in the world that takes itself overly seriously. Making work that’s injected with humour gives a fresh perspective and often makes certain topics a lot more approachable for a wider audience and not just an exclusive group of people. 

Submission by: @isaroalb
Submission by: @juditholofernes


After two weeks of confinement, more than 1,000 photos were made by people all around the world.

What’s the most surprising submission you’ve received?

A naked man pretending to be a fountain.


How has isolation altered your creative mindset?  

My mindset is still very much the same as before; I think it’s always important to keep a positive mindset, no matter how challenging the situation. I think the most creative work is often made when we’re faced with a problem and limited resources needed to solve it. In many ways, you can use this challenging time as an advantage: how can you find new and often more interesting ways to work that weren’t possible before? I think being stuck at home doesn’t mean you need to be stuck.

Submission by: @iwrajca
Submission by: @lou_garini


I think often the most creative work is made when we are

faced with a problem.

Submission by: @__seanmitchell 
Submission by: anonymous

The role of Instagram is...

…changing every second. 


What advice would you give readers wishing to start their own personal projects during this time? 

Don’t overthink and just start it. The goal should never be that it’s perfect, but that it’s fun.


What are the next steps for your Home Survival project?

‘Home Alone’ is currently being turned into a book, which will be available at the beginning of May. Apart from that, the project is taking many new forms. I’m developing music videos and photo shoots in my home, and I just started a new project, called ‘So Far Sofa’, which combines couches from all around the world to build the longest one ever.

Unsure which challenge to take on? Max’s Instagram (@maxsiedentopf) is filled with his favourite submissions to help you get inspired. Or why not check out the special challenge that Max designed for us? Visit @TheOfficialSelfridges on Instagram to join the fridge brigade.

Looking for more stuff to make your world brighter?

Scroll for inspiration right here.