Matthew Mazzotta replaces blighted wreck with a theater in a box

© Matthew Mazzotta

York, Alabama has been going through some seriously hard times, with major blight. Artist Matthew Mazzotta worked with local residents who expressed " frustration with the community’s loss of public space, the spread of blight and the lack of racially integrated and secular social spaces." His project, "Open House," is a response to that need: a house that unfolds into an outdoor theater.

Original house© Matthew Mazzotta

The project occupies the site of a derelict house that was a serious eyesore, but retains some of the character and color of its predecessor. According to the Coleman Center for the Arts,

An iconic, “housey” looking house, it projects the very idea of a house itself. Shelter, charm, warmth, safety. When transformed it unfolds in ten pieces on specially commissioned industrial hinges into seats for nearly 100 people. The seats, graduated for height, face a raised earthen stage. It is a public space made from the remnants of a privately owned blighted property, like those that still litter the landscape across rural Alabama and so many other parts of America, urban and rural alike.

unfolding house© Matthew Mazzotta

The artist writes in a press release:

The metamorphosis of Open House is designed to require cooperation. It takes four people one and a half
hours to unfold the structure. The foundation is made of used railroad ties which anchor the custom fabricated
industrial hinges to five rows of stadium seating. The rows of seats fold down with the aid of a hand winch and
enough manpower to counter balance the hefty, but agile structure.

unfolded house© Matthew Mazzotta

It looks like a lot of fun.

OPEN HOUSE - Matthew Mazzotta 2013 from matthew mazzotta on Vimeo.

Matthew Mazzotta replaces blighted wreck with a theater in a box
In York, Alabama they now have public space where before they had a collapsing house.

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