Friday, May 1, 2009

Defenestration...San Francisco, CA


(Site-specific installation on the corner of 6th and Howard St. in San Francisco)

This multi-disciplinary sculptural mural involves seemingly animated furniture; tables, chairs, lamps, grandfather clocks, a refrigerator, and couches, their bodies bent like centipedes, fastened to the walls and window-sills, their insect-like legs seeming to grasp the surfaces. Against society's expectations, these everyday objects flood out of windows like escapees, out onto available ledges, up and down the walls, onto the fire escapes and off the roof. "DEFENESTRATION" was created with the help of over 100 volunteers.
The concept of "DEFENESTRATION", a word literally meaning "to throw out of a window," is embodied by the both the site and staging of this installation. Located at the corner of Sixth and Howard Streets in San Francisco in an abandoned four-story tenement building, the site is part of a neighborhood that historically has faced economic challenge and has often endured the stigma of skid row status. Reflecting the harsh experience of many members of the community, the furniture is also of the streets, cast-off and unappreciated. The simple, unpretentious beauty and humanity of these downtrodden objects is reawakened through the action of the piece. The act of "throwing out" becomes an uplifting gesture of release, inviting reflection on the spirit of the people we live with, the objects we encounter, and the places in which we live.

Giant Fishnet Stocking Legs... San Francisco, CA

Located on the second floor of a Victorian building on San Francisco’s famous Haight Street, are a pair of giant legs that hang out over the street and passersby below. Anyone interested in seeing the famous corner of Haight & Ashbury Streets of 1960s Summer of Love fame, can’t miss the legs. This is another of San Francisco’s unique unexplained sites in a neighborhood of many strange happenings.

Most Crookedest St... San Francisco, CA

Lombard Street is best known for the one-way section on Russian Hill between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets, in which the roadway has eight sharp turns (or switchbacks) that have earned the street the distinction of being "the crookedest [most winding] street in world." The switchbacks design, first suggested by property owner Carl Henry[citation needed] and instituted in 1922, was born out of necessity in order to reduce the hill's natural 27% grade,[citation needed] which was too steep for most vehicles to climb and a serious hazard to pedestrians used to a more reasonable sixteen-degree incline. The crooked section of the street, which is about 1/4 mile (400 m) long, is reserved for one-way traffic traveling east (downhill) and is paved with red bricks. The speed limit here is a mere 5 mph (8 km/h).
In the 1950s the street was gardened by a resident, one of the Bercut brothers, frenchmen who owned the Bercut meat market.
In 1999, a Crooked Street Task Force was created to try to solve traffic problems in the neighborhoods around the winding section of Lombard Street. In 2001, the Task Force decided that it would not be legal to permanently close the block to vehicular traffic. Instead, the Task Force decided to institute a summer parking ban in the area, to bar eastbound traffic on major holidays, and to increase fines for parking in the area. The Task Force also proposed the idea of using minibuses to ferry sightseers to the famous block, although residents debated the efficiency of such a solution, since one of the attractions of touring the area is driving along the twisting section of the street.
The Powell-Hyde cable car line stops at the top of this block.