Untitled Mattress Factory Installation 1993

A Collaborative Installation with Monica Bock, Mary Carlisle, Cathy Gasser (Ono), Melissa Goldstein, and Sandrine Sheon.

The six of us met in Pittsburgh to look at the space at 1414 Monterey and began to develop ideas for a collaborative installation. The subjects of our discussions ranged from Pittsburgh’s distinct industrial history, the surrounding northside neighborhood, and the specifics of the second and third floors of the former living space our work would occupy. We began to focus on the connecting spaces such as the stairway between floors, a doorway between two rooms on the second floor, a passage between two rooms on the third floor, and the windows on the third floor. And we spoke of developing a connection between the sidewalk and the interior. We returned to our homes in different parts of the country and continued to coorespond via email. 

The inventions on the second floor would be minimal. We found an old raised panel door and made a mold of it. We cast it in clear resin and installed it between two rooms. We covered the windows in the first room. The only light entering that room emanted from behind the clear resin door. The light behind the door appeared to be from a window, though it shone both day and night, creating a sense of mystery.

Just as the river separates the north side of Pittsburgh from the downtown, the waterfall stairway separates and connects the second and third floors. The sensation of warm water on one’s fingers as one gently grasps the handrail continues to surprise those who move between floors. 

At the top of the stairs, another room appears to be vacant until the windows come into view. Each is partially covered with a shade, and on is each shade is a translucent photograph revealing the scene outside the window. 

Clearly, we saw the space as a domestic one, yet, one that the public had access to. Families populated the neighorhood and on sunny days, people sat out on their front stoops. As evening fell, most migrated into the safety of their homes. The iron railings common to houses in the area influenced the concept for the balcony in the last room on the third floor. 

An incised line in the wall across from the balcony held a material infused with the smell of freshly mowed grass.

Finally, a periscope formed a connection between the inside and the outside of the space. Viewers who might be reluctant to enter the gallery space could look through the lens of the scope and see an image of a waterfall that appeared to be coming from the third floor window.