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Seattle Presents Gallery: The Living Room Project

October 16 to December 15, 2017

Opening celebration
Thursday, October 26, 2017, 5-7 p.m.

In September 2017, Seattle-based designers Sara Zewde and Sloan Dawson sited, designed, and installed an outdoor public living room in a U District alleyway between the Post Office and University Temple United Methodist Church as a means to temporarily blur boundaries across the housed/homeless divide, provoke dialogue on Seattle’s intensifying development pressure, and offer a moment of casual delight. It was part of the global Park(ing) Day celebration and Seattle Design Festival.

The alley is home to several homeless service organizations and also serves as a path of travel for students and other university affiliates. The composition and materiality of the Living Room installation was designed to suspend the normalized condition of these parallel, non-intersecting worlds of the alley, by directly evoking the spatial construct of the living room and softening an otherwise harsh outdoor space. Provisions such as food, games, books, and Polaroid cameras served as devices for breaking the ice. The result was a true canvas for casual interaction, contemplation, and creative engagement; a designed space for simply being.

The Seattle Presents Gallery will exhibit film and photographic documentation of the Living Room Project from October 16 to December 15, 2017. By juxtaposing images of the daily reality of the alley with those of the installation, the recorded memories of the Living Room gesture to what could be, through the lens of what was.

The Living Room Project was supported in part by a commission from the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and a grant from 4Culture, and in partnership with Facing Homelessness.