When it comes to house hunting, everyone knows the ‘worst house, best street’ rule – but nothing will prepare you for the deluge at a tiny cottage set up outside Hyde Park Barracks.
Sydneysiders’ notions of normality will be challenged as they enter Art & About Sydney’s extraordinary installation project I Wish You Hadn’t Asked – a house that continuously rains on the inside, deteriorating into a hostile and uncomfortable environment with each and every drop.
The creation of artist James Dive from creative collective The Glue Society, I Wish You Hadn’t Asked will sit outside Hyde Park Barracks on Macquarie Street from 21 September to 5 October.
The public will be invited to don a raincoat and step inside the waterlogged world from 11am-6pm daily.
“I Wish You Hadn’t Asked is a provocative art project from one of Sydney’s most talented installation artists and creative collectives,” City of Sydney CEO Monica Barone said.
“Taking art out of the confines of the gallery and placing it on display on one of Sydney’s best-known streets, this project will challenge your expectations of normality – triggering a range of reactions and emotions as the house slowly disintegrates.”
The full-size, 66-square-metre house will be constructed from timber and weatherboard before being furnished with everyday household items – all bought second-hand.
For two weeks, furniture, bedding, kitchen appliances, toys, artworks, books and clothing will deteriorate as 200 litres of recycled water rain down every day – gradually destroying the house.
Towards the end of the two weeks, the house will have deteriorated into a pungent, rotting and hostile environment – becoming a completely different character from the project’s original form. Everything salvageable will be recycled at the end of the project.
Making its debut at Denmark’s Sculpture by the Sea in 2011, I Wish You Hadn’t Asked was awarded three prizes including the Major Art Prize. The soggy house proved so popular, even Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark visited the installation, donning their raincoats for a guided tour with artist James Dive.
James Dive’s multidisciplinary approach to creativity has seen his work appear everywhere from contemporary art shows in Miami to billboards in Iraq.
His works include the show-stopping melted ice-cream van Hot With the Chance of Late Storm, which appeared at Sydney’s Sculpture by the Sea in 2009, and the infamous series God’s Eye View, where biblical scenes were created using satellite photography.
James is also a long-term member of the international recognised creative collective, The Glue Society.
“From the outside everything looks normal – it is only once we go beyond the exterior normalities that we become witness to a private world slowly destroying itself,” James said.
“As the water continues to rain down, and as your shoes fill up, we gain empathy for a private world which time cannot mend.”
I Wish You Hadn’t Asked will be found outside Hyde Park Barracks on Macquarie Street from 21 September to 5 October. The installation will be open to the public from 11am-6pm daily, and raincoats will be provided.