In 1940, public housing was constructed on the former 35-acre site of Luna Park, Cleveland’s answer to Coney Island. The housing project, Woodhill by name, was the city’s largest. I moved into Woodhill at age fourteen, white, Jewish and for all wants and purposes, isolated.
“Luna Window” is a series of exhibits that expose the irony of fantasy amusements descending into a wretched reality. It is a narrative of broken homes, broken dreams and the despair of one within a prison, trapped by fear, pressed against the window unable to escape and peering at a society of which one is not a part.
The ladder rails, rungs and protrusions are constructed of stained silk organza and stuffed with human hair, which I collect from beauty salons. The diversity of hair from anonymous donors, with their individual DNA’s, place each donor in an environment not of her/his making. It is not a far reach to consider those donors suffering the same predicament in real time.
What is frustrating is the lack of solutions to the predicaments of current project residents, particularly children. What is the secret, the plan that enables the multitudes to break the mold in the thousands of public housing complexes across our country? It’s not simple, obviously.
Luna Window communicates my internal discussion. Like Petah Coyne, I opt for more gut and less conceptualization. Heartfelt is her comment: “I do think of them (my sculptures) as an extension of myself, it’s like pulling off my skin.”
Taken a step further, many of us have a “project” instilled memory – be it shame, guilt or remorse – that resurfaces from time to time as we present an alternative face to the world through a window.
The Luna Window Series as well confronts my humanity, and the habitat I occupy.