When University of Waterloo architecture grad Talayeh Hamidya learned her mother was going to tear down her house to build a new one, she had an idea: Would her mother mind if Hamidya and her architect friends went buck-wild in the name of art? After getting the go ahead, they knocked out walls, floors, and ceilings, and filled rooms with water, smoke, laser lights, and even floor-to-ceiling silver tarp hammocks to slide down. They opened it to the public two months ago, at 593 Soudan Ave. Last Friday was closing night.
The artist’s statements were typically wordy—e.g., “Each piece poses a dialectic challenge that transforms both the contained (our perceptions) and the container (architecture).” A more apt description might be: Delightful to wander around half-cut on a Friday night.
The kitchen was scattered with yellowing newspapers from 1941 bearing historically potent headlines like: “Nazi commandos raid UK’s coast, seize Canadians.” Off the kitchen was a small black room with an old TV, transmitting images of the kitchen. Beside that television was a larger projection of the kitchen.
This was the work of James Usas, a masters student in the architecture program at U of W. He wandered over to explain. “Uh, so, as you come up to the threshold, you see yourself….” He paused. “I’m, sorry, I’m a little bit drunk…so there’s these two cameras on separate delays, so you’re reading those newspapers which we actually found in the ceiling here.” He rolled his head back and pointed up at the bare rafters. “You come in here and see yourself, and it’s this compression of time, I guess.”
The evening was ultimately short on such artist’s statements and long on happy young people crawling, jumping, smoking, dancing, and cavorting inside a joyous art-house. It will be torn down in a few weeks