Fallen Star looks as if Dorothy’s house from the Wizard of Oz has come to rest seven stories above the UCSD campus. It’s can be found teetering on the edge of Engineering building 1, also known as Jacobs Hall.
“Fallen Star” is now ready for visitors seven years after the initial sketch. Korean artist Do Ho Suh, “never thought it would be realized.” But its now the 18th sculpture of the university of san diego’s stuart collection.
The cottage sculpture is his continued exploration of the conception of home and cultural displacement. One’s surroundings existing as both familiar and foreign, and in many ways the piece speaks to students feeling a separation from “home.”
The Korean-born artist first came to the United States in 1991, to study at the Rhode Island School of Design. He recalls feeling “as if he was dropped from the sky.” He had to adjust physically and mentally.
The 15′ x 18′ cottage is a three-quarter-sized version of a small house in Providence, Rhode Island. Inside, you’ll find worn furniture, family photos, books, and touristy trinkets. As well as items on the coffee table like keys, cell phone and a remote.
Except for the chandelier hanging straight from the ceiling, there isn’t a single plumb line to the house. The floor sits at a 5-degree angle from the flat roof of Jacobs Hall, while the house is built at a different 10-degree angle.
“Fallen Star” conforms to California earthquake codes and was built to withstand 100 mph winds. Its foundation is 18 inches thick, compared to the usual 4 inches. Some feel seasick or wobbly or feel like they’re falling.
“Fallen Star,” said Mary Beebe, director of the Stuart Collection at UC San Diego, explores that feeling of displacement and the notion of “home.” Beebe hopes that these ideas are relevant for students, many of whom have left their homes for the first time and come from afar. “Home” – where we come from, where we are and how we got here – is a question we can all ponder.
The project is supported entirely by private donations to the Stuart Collection and a $90,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Fallen Star is open a few hours a week, as well as by appointment. Call 858-534-2117 or visit the collection’s website.