Sumer Erek's 'Upside Down House', which was commissioned for this year's Stoke Newington Festival in the London Borough of Hackney, is about to be dismantled but deserves a longer life, writes Andrew Mead . Inside a white-painted chipboard shell, about 4m x 5m x 5m, Erek has made an inverted replica of a commonplace living room, with its rug, furniture, potted plant etc - all where the ceiling should be. You look into it through its upside-down windows from an enclosed passage on one side of the shell, with a door at either end.
This sight might offer only a brief frisson of surprise but other elements complicate the experience: a mirror in the living room positioned so that you can only see other visitors in the passage, not yourself (bringing audience interactions into the work); the TV monitor playing an old interview with Erek in which his words are no longer intelligible, as if his response to the same questions would be different now; and more.
Artists'subversion of domesticity gives ample scope for other disciplines to comment from their own perspective (as Rachel Whiteread and Gregor Schneider have shown), and it is no surprise to hear from Erek that a festival discussion on his work included an architect, a philosopher and a psychoanalyst. But clearly children have loved it too.
Its resonance comes partly from the way in which upside-down and right-way-up spaces interlock: one gap between shell and inverted room gives Erek a workshop; he has slept on the 'ceiling', and indeed wants to make the whole structure more habitable. It can, of course, be reerected elsewhere when it has been dismantled, and might almost have featured in last year's 'Parasites'show at the Architecture Foundation, on small-scale, experimental prototypes for dwelling (AJ 19.10.00).
This 'Upside Down House'has a broad appeal.
It could travel easily and should.