The experience: Open the door and enter a long hallway. Turn the lock on the door to “occupied” so you have privacy. The door closes behind you if you leave it open. The room is a gold color, with carpeting like you’d find in any suburban home. At the end of the hallway is a room just big enough to contain a chair with very wide arms. Turn around and sit in the chair to face the doorway which has a mirror on the back of it. It’s just you in the chair and the mirror at the other end. There is no ceiling. You are in a private space within a public space. There is no ceiling so the noise wafts around you. The experience is akin to when attending a party you need a break from the din and being pleasant. A typical option is to take refuge in the bathroom. You close the door and “ah” finally a bit of peace. But then is it peaceful in there for you?
The first time this room was constructed, it was in a space familiar to most viewers. From the gallery, outside of the installation, the dimensions of the room were unclear and thus a surprise. The yellow interior glowed when the door was opened which created interest from those around the room.
There were varied reactions to the experience of Single Occupancy. One professor drank his coffee in it every morning as a respite; one visitor burst into tears and told me more than I ever expected to hear about an art viewer’s life and body image. Public/private, body image, peace of mind, are some of the topics that come into play. The experience may differ based on time of day and mood of the moment. Can you smile at yourself in the mirror or growl or avert your eyes or ignore your reflection? The comfy chair provided invites you to stay awhile, take all the time you need to figure it out.