October 8, 2008

From Theory to Practice: The Continuum of Desire (Part 2)

What Came to be Known as the Sex Hut

Around the corner from Peres Projects is David Salow Gallery, where I exhibited my installation Social Spaces. This was my first return to the neighborhood since the show, so I headed up to Elysian Park where I had installed a second booth. After parking and hiking up the trail I came to the spot where the booth had been; there was nothing there.

I hiked up the trail in both directions, looking up and down the hillsides. There was no evidence of the booth having been there, except for the shallow cut I made into the ground to create a level foundation. After some wandering about, I realized that the dried grasses on both sides of the main trail had been weed-wacked back.

One possibility was that the Parks Department removed the booth as too formal an intrusion into their Elysian fields, though this seemed unlikely. Decades of homeless encampments and condom debris have been allowed to accumulate and decompose, a monument to entropy of East Los Angeles’ spare bedroom and its many users.

A little latter I had one of those transcendent encounters—esteem building, erotic, and sexually joyful—with the most exquisite dusky jewel I have traded pleasures with in many a moon. Afterwards, as we pulled the burrs from our socks and re-buckled our pants, I mentioned that I had originally stopped by to check up on the booth.

You made that?” was his astonished comment, along with the info that he had made good use of the structure. He also told me he had seen it when he was at the park a week earlier, but by then someone had moved it down the hill near a soccer field and parking lot.

I hiked around the area, but I couldn’t find a trace of the art. I’m guessing that it was easiest to move it downhill with gravity’s assistance, and once it was by the parking lot, it would have been fairly simple for someone to load it in the back of a truck and drive it away. Like Iran do Espirito Santo’s Die I discovered in front of a friend’s apartment (ten years after it was purloined from InSite 1997 San Diego/Tijuana) I’m hoping that the booth and its glory hole are being put to good use—and one day may reappear.

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  1. So, then, as per your instructions to comment :)

    Would you say the utilitarian nature of the work is a successful examination of the public erotics you're interested in? It seems like the missing sex hut (sorry about that) makes the other, artworld one a ghost of some other object out in the world; a figurative sculpture rather than a use-based structure.

  2. The gallery hut came first, so it initially functioned as a proposal, but sadly it has become representational of something that I guess was a bit to utopic. I've thought about taking the one in storage and moving it to the park, but I 'm still thinking about ways to make it more difficult to remove.


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