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'Fun House'
at Western Bridge, Seattle, Washington
Recommendation by Adriana Grant

Continuing through July 30, 2011

It’s an indoor carnival, with an inflated house (Mungo Thompson’s “Skyspace Bouncehouse”), a light enclosure (Cartsen Höller’s “Neon Circle”), and a slope-floored wooden room (Julian Hoeber’s “Devil Hill”). These three works are central to the exhibition, titled “Funhouse.” All are playful, inhabitable and designed to test your physical tolerance. “Devil House” tests your spatial orientation by producing a sense of weightless zero gravity. “Skyspace Bouncehouse,” a grey PVC inflatable structure, is art that’s meant to be jumped on. “Neon Circle” is not quite as much fun, as it is riveting and physically uncomfortable: it’s hard to look at a streaming series of cold cathode tubes that flash too brightly.

These domestic structures do the strange, difficult work of getting adults to play. Context and signage help, but the design of the pieces themselves compels us to interact. These works are more serious than they at first appear, as they seem capable of changing behavior, increasing social interaction, and yes, instigating joy.

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