Mary Hale is still too tired to provide a play-by-play account of the five days that Itinerant Home spent happily installed in New Orleans during the DesCours festival. Thus, a short account with a few highlights and photographs will have to suffice.
Itinerant Home spent half of the festival on it’s assigned site: the rooftop of the DH Holmes Building at 810 Bienville Street in the French Quarter. This site couldn’t have been more symbolically and aesthetically appropriate for its connection to the city, its proximity to water, is kitsch plastic wood decking… However, an unforseen problem surfaced on opening night: gale force winds threatened to blow the project off of the roof. One of my volunteer assistants wouldn’t even go inside for fear that she and the project would blow into the pool together. There she would drown, wrapped in deflated masses of unrippable ripstop nylon… She wouldn’t even enter after another assistant and I had moved a park bench inside, along with several tables… The roof inverted, and the house rocked violently back and forth.
After thirty minutes we threw in the towel, and thanks to Itinerant Home’s portability we we were able to reinstall in two unassigned sites before semi-permanently squatting in the parking garage next door. The garage was filthy (as evidenced by the current condition of Itinerant Home’s feet), and its ceiling had a few low hanging barbs of re-bar (as evidenced by a small hole in Itinerant Home’s roof) and rusty pipes (as evidenced by a dark streak across Itinerant Home’s roof). Nonetheless, there was space in the garage for the project to roam freely, and it was thrilling to allow eight visitors to move the house all over the space simply by coordinating their steps — as choreographed once by myself and once by my lovely and helpful volunteer assistant, a Tulane medical student named Michelle.
The next night, Itinerant Home, now anchored with sand bags and ties, by God, spent the whole night on its rooftop site. The site was enhanced by musical accompaniment provided by the Ed Barrett Trio. The feeling was grand, but it couldn’t last. The two ensuing stormy nights of torrential downpours and winds sent Itinerant Home scurrying for shelter in the parking garage next door to her site yet again.
The week was replete with exciting moments. Perhaps most notably, on Sunday December 13 around 8:00pm a marching band emerged from a thick fog on the rooftop of the DH Holmes Building. Following the band, nearly sixty drunken fans exploded into the pool area. Someone actually dove into the pool, head first fully clothed. Two women seemingly attempted (and half-succeeded) to rip hands off of two of Itinerant Home’s bodysuits with their drunken flailing. Doug MacCash, the New Orleans Times Picayune‘s Art Critic helped a guest secure Itinerant Home’s fan with duct tape. And although Mr. MacCash didn’t recount this moment, he did provide a kind word or two about the project here.
That night, closing night, was one of the best moments of Itinerant Home’s short life in the public eye. A few pictures from the week appear below (and above), but you will find even more here. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Itinerant Home will make another appearance sometime in the near future. Stayed tuned…
Thank you very much to everyone at the AIA New Orleans who made DesCours happen, particularly Melissa Urcan, Megan Cook, Lorie, and Eyal. DesCours is a wonderful festival, and I hope to one day talk about some of the great installations I visited when I could escape from my own high-maintenance project! Thank you also to the magnificently gracious, amazing, and magnanimous role-model-to-all Carey Clouse for EVERYTHING. Thank you to Brandon, Caroline and of course, Katie for coming down to show your support!!!! And for just generally putting up with an obsessive crazy person during the months leading up to the festival. Thank you Jeest for blogging about me and coming to see my studio. THANK YOU EVERYONE I HAVEN’T THANKED TOO! You know who you are and you might be mad at me for not mentioning your name. But there are so many of you… perhaps I should plant some trees or purchase carbon offsets in your honor…
Anyway… happy holidays. There will be more to come in 2010.