Rhode Island Cottage Hoisted Up on Top UCSD Engineering Building
If you have a chance to go by the engineering building on the campus of UCSD, you will find a replica of a Rhode Island cottage that seems to be balanced precariously on the edge of the 7-story building. It's not an engineering project gone awry, but the latest installation of artist Do Ho Suh's project "Fallen Star."
Yesterday, the cottage was hoisted up onto the building in front of a crowd. Suh looked on while a documentary crew filmed his reaction: “It’s unreal,” he said. “It’s a perfect fit.”
Next year the house will be opened up and crowds will actually be able to go inside the house, which is a replica of the kind of cottage you might see in Rhode Island where Suh went to art school. The project is part of an ongoing project that the South Korean native has been working on that deals with home, displacement and culture.
The installation is the latest addition to UCSD's impressive Stuart Collection. Most of that money for the $1.3 million project came from private donations, but it also received a $90,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, according to Voice of San Diego.
This piece is one of an ongoing series of projects that Suh has been working on. One of the installments "Fallen Star 1/5" was on display at LACMA in 2009. It portrayed the collision of a traditional Korean house and a 19th century American mansion, which he called it a "sort of self-portrait." An earlier installation included "Fallen Star: Wind of Destiny," which the Los Angeles Times called "a Styrofoam and resin tornado-like form" that stood at nine feet tall. He told the Times there will eventually be seven chapters in this project that will form an entire story (that sounds like an updated version of the "Wizard of Oz").
Here's the story he told the Times about his LACMA installation back in 2009:
It's a simple story, like a fairy tale. I was in the house, making my first fabric architectural piece [referring to a full-size replica of his childhood home made of light green transparent cloth]. All of a sudden, there was a tornado that took the building into the sky. I didn't know where I was going, but then I saw the ocean and a bridge from Seoul to New York, so I knew that the house was heading to the U.S.
I realized the house was going down soon, so I finished my fabric piece to use it as a parachute. I got scared when I realized that the house was slowing down and I couldn't see land. I decided to throw things away, but there were so many things I was personally attached to. I made a list of things I possessed and prioritized them. It gave me time to reflect on my entire life in that house. Then I crossed off things on the list. In the end, I decided to throw out pretty much everything except what was essential to survival.
When the building started to descend, I went up on the roof with the parachute. The house started to come down and crash, but it had a semi-soft landing. And that's how I feel. Culture shock didn't come as a shock to me. It took a long time.