Friday, January 28, 2011

The Time To Hesitate Is Through...

Jeff Waldman, a friend of mine in San Francisco, likes to take on projects that quietly bring joy to a bunch of stranger's lives.  There are certainly better ways for a human being to spend their days, but it's a pretty short list.  It's highly underrated, the whole "childlike joy" thing.  Try it, you'll remember.

Jeff's got a new collaborative project that I'm totally tickled by, and I want to help get people involved with it. It's a great way to bring lots of artists and craftspeople together, all contributing to one very large work.

It started with a typically odd email I received from him one morning:

Remember that door we talked about? If you're ever bored one day and want a project, start making a few doors. Tiny ones. Like, Alice Through The Looking Glass, 15 inch tall, doors. They shouldn't be operational. But the more details the better. A frame, a few design flourishes. Some weathered paint. As I've been walking around the city I've noticed great spots where I'd like to take some industrial adhesive and mount a little fake door. Not for any real reason, but there are some well foot-trafficked areas where it would just look "right," or as right as something like that can.

Just a thought for your Wed morning. Hope all is well over on the right coast.

Absolutely. I'm in. I'm definitely going to participate, and I'm really hoping to help bring a few dozen of my friends to the table with me - I'm assuming my friends will be as amused and excited about it as I am.  I asked Jeff to send me a more explicit description to kick it off and help explain what's going on. Here's what he sent me:

The idea is to install small doors, unexplained portals, throughout the city. To start, in San Francisco. These doors would be scaled down to a size that is cognitively possible but whimsically improbable. Maybe 15-25 inches or so. Pet door sized. I don’t imagine them to be operable, but the more detailed in appearance the better.

Each artist would create his or her contribution to the project, where the frame, molding, window or lack of window, color, state of decay, and other intricate details speak to the artist’s unique take and contribution. The doors would be sent to me, to be installed by me and a couple others, around the bay area. Anyone based around here is more than welcome to join me as we find the best location for each piece. We’ll select spots that bode well aesthetically with the individual doors and are in areas that will see a lot of traffic but are least likely to be removed by anyone. Sounds contradictory? It is, but we’ll do our best.

The doors will be fixed with adhesive and installed in a way to look as natural as possible—as natural as a 16 inch tall weathered oak door can look on the side of parking garage. If anyone would want to stake out a spot before hand, via Google maps street view or some such method, and create a piece to be installed somewhere specific, that’s just fine. The installation process of each piece will be photographed along with reaction shots from passersby. The photographs, information, and story will probably be compiled together afterward-- though into what I'm not sure. If this goes well I'd like to expand on or replicate the project in other cities.

So, in case it isn't clear - this is open to anyone who can make a door, of any kind, of any material (understanding, of course, that it will live outside). That means anything from your basic woods and metals to textiles and resins and plastics and human bones and the flesh of a virgin dragon.

If you want to do what all the cool kids are doing, make a door.  If you want to break on through to the other side, make a door. If you want to find Wonderland, make a door. It's what Wile E. Coyote would do - and as we all know, Wile E. Coyote is a supergenius.

Update: If you just want to make a door and send it off, here's the address:

Jeff Waldman
1135 Leavenworth St
San Francisco, 94109

Make sure you identify yourself! If you want to blather on and on about what kind of door to make or where it should go, or you want to volunteer to help in San Francisco, that's fine too; email me here or Jeff at his site (his name at the top is a link).


Blogger Stimulus Recipient said...

I want to make a door, but I want it to open to something I supply- a little piece of artwork or a message, like an advent calendar. Yes, I'm characteristically making things difficult, but a door that doesn't open would piss me off more than instill childlike wonder. Loved Jeff's swing project.

5:53 PM  
Blogger sb said...

So make a door that opens on an advent calendar, ya grumpy sumbitch. Did you see the part about "the artist's unique take and contribution?" Do that!

Have fun! Make joy! Childlike wonder, and all that happy crap!

You said "characteristically" - do we know each other?

6:06 PM  
Blogger JW said...

Opens to a message? I like that better than a non functional door.

3:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess you'll want to get a twitter icon to your blog. I just marked down this url, however I must do it manually. Simply my $.02 :)

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your blog is beautiful. it fills me with hope.

2:32 PM  
Blogger sb said...

Hey, listen - I don't need that kind of pressure!

Seriously, though - thank you. What a nice thing to say.

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i mean it. truly. your words touch me. you dont know me but you understand.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Ella said...

This is my favourite thing I've seen all week. I am probably incapable of making a door, and for a start live just under ten thousand miles away, but it has still made my day. Tiny things! Tiny Alice in Wonderland like things! Surprising tiny Alice things! Thankyou. x

5:21 AM  

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