Saturday, September 20, 2008

Montrose Vortex

In my old Houston neighborhood, known as the "Montrose", there existed a curious sight until last June when the houses were demolished: two houses being sucked into a wormhole on the corner of Montrose Blvd. and Willard. This was the handiwork of two artists, Dan Havel and Dean Ruck. The project was named, "Inversion".

Havel and Ruck created a large funnel-like vortex beginning from the west wall adjacent to Montrose Blvd.

The exterior skin of the houses was peeled off and used to create the narrowing spiral as it progressed eastward through the small central hallway connecting the two buildings and exiting through a small hole into an adjacent courtyard.

Ten years ago, Dan Havel and Dean Ruck were part of a trio of artists, including sculptor Kate Petley, that collaborated on "O House," a large scale installation that transformed a small bungalow in Houston's Westend neighborhood into a magical space for two months. I recall that one entire room of the place was mosaic'd in pennies. Through the use of an interior circular room, earth floors, and pinhole projections displayed surrounding trees and sky for lighting, "O House" created an environment with a fluid barrier between inside and outside, psyche and experience, spirituality and consciousness. For many, the memory of the installation after its demolition served to strengthen their personal associations of the experience.

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Stacy Alexander