Atsuko Mochida’s Rotating House
In the city of Mito in the heart of Japan’s Ibaraki prefecture, artist Atsuko Mochida renovated an old house and totally modified it to make part of the space rotate on itself.
It all began when the 29-year-old artist found a traditional Japanese house which had been left abandoned for a decade. She became fascinated by its history and wondered how she could give it a new life through art.
She first decided to increase its surface area. Then, with the help of carpenters and other artisans from the region, she isolated a circular area of the floor, 5 m in diameter, and placed it on an axis so it could rotate on itself. To the inattentive eye, the device is barely visible. But when it’s working, the installation ‘breaks’ the walls and creates an unexpected opening in the façade of the house. The room where the circular area is suddenly becomes exposed to the outside world and becomes an improvised patio.
This project, entitled The Revolving House of T., continues in the footsteps of the artist’s previous creations, one of her most notable being the installation Piercing the Prison (2015), a metal bar which creates a breach in a cell in the former prison in Weimar in Germany. She was also behind Push the Wall (2016), an installation in Berlin where visitors were invited to push a wall, not knowing what was behind it.
With this house, Atsuko Mochida once again raises the question of the boundary between public and private, and also of the identity of the architectural object: is an artist who works with a few artisans an architect? If a house has a bedroom which isn’t constantly protected by walls, is it really a house? If a traditional house is given such an overhaul, is it still anchored in the past, in spite of the original elements which can still be seen?
Those interested in finding an answer to such questions are invited to contact the artist: Atsuko Mochida is offering the public access to her rotating house, but by appointment only.
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