“Golden Gateway”; A Site Specific, Temporary Project for Patricia’s Green, Hayes Valley,
San Francisco, CA; Fabric, Scaffolding, Lights, 25’H x 21’W x 10’D
This project consisted of a gateway like structure created out of scaffolding and the entire structure was draped in thin, golden colored square pieces of fabric. Each piece was 17″ x 17″ and was hung on steel cables that were stretched across the scaffolding creating an overall grid format. There were approximately 800 pieces of fabric that adorned the gate in a style similar to Tibetan prayer flags. The structure was internally illuminated at night.
It was my hope with this piece to present a warm and welcoming portal into the Hayes Valley neighborhood, while providing a gateway for the dreams and visions of the people in the community. “Golden Gateway” was composed of several conceptual layers that could be approached independently and/ or as interconnected links within a larger unified whole. On the most immediate level the piece was inspired by and references the historical turning point of the discovery of gold in California and thus links itself to the family of “Golden Gates” in San Francisco such as Golden Gate Park and the Golden Gate Bridge.
On a more fundamental level, this piece explored the idea of a gateway as a portal in time; not into the future, nor the past, but of the present. In spatial terms, a gateway is neither here nor there; it is a unique in-between zone, which helps to identify an instant of passage. In general, this passage also indicates a shift or a change, thereby introducing the element of time. Thus, a gateway is as much about marking time as it is about moving in space. For example, we often use the phrase “now entering” in reference to a point of entry or a gateway, which clearly points to both elements of time and space. In this sense, “Golden Gateway” is an architectural monument of/to the present/ time; a portal for entering into the now. In fact, the entire piece is fabricated in such a way as to de-emphasize and undermine the primacy of space; a gateway, which appears to be an architectural space one moment, then shifts its shape and disappears in an instant, when the flags are lifted by the wind.
It has been said that architecture is simply an extension/ reflection of our selves. If this is so, then Golden Gateway can be read as a metaphor for the human body. The scaffolding becomes the bones, while the overall structure echoes that of our rib cage, with the opening archway, situated at our solar plexus and then finally the fabric can be read as the skin. If we take this exploration one step further, the fabric becomes the temporal/ superficial form of our self, ie; our physical body, that is subject to the forces of nature. Whereas the scaffolding reflects the idea of a more permanent foundation/ essence, an entity within us which remains constant even as our bodies age and change.
If we continue to pursue the concept of the human being as a gateway , then we must ask ourselves, what are we a gateway to? The very idea of a gateway suggests the potential for passing through and being able to access another space, dimension or realm that is next to, above or beyond the one on this side. At the threshold of this gateway , we find ourselves standing at the edge of the present moment, but not the present that we experience as bordered by past nor future, but rather a never ending chain of nows; one linked to another in an infinite and borderless succession.
“Golden Gateway ” acts as a liminal, magical, in-between space that encourages us to examine our most basic notions of space, time and reality. It was a welcoming threshold for a new beginning, a place/ space that honored our hopes, dreams, visions, inspirations and aspirations. Yet, “Golden Gateway” also created a unique environment in which to celebrate a neighborhood’s revitalization; a rare moment of renaissance and rebirth in its ongoing history.