Have any of you seen this interesting red door on Fern Alley (between Sutter and Bush) off of Polk?

We just learned that it’s the work of Jeff Waldman and it’s not a door “into something, but a door out to somewhere”. He told us that it’s the first of about 20 doors created by artists from around the country and sent to him for installation around San Francisco. This first one has been designed, made by him, and installed on Fern Alley only a couple of days ago. You might remember Jeff Waldman from another series of installs he did last year, in that case swings, and then filmed strangers’ happiness while using them. The swings were the first in a series of actions that are part of what he calls “The Happiness Project”, aimed at discovering “the unexpected, lost and often ignored pleasures that make life so amazingly joyous”.

Here’s his description of his new doors project:

The idea is to install small doors, unexplained portals, throughout the city. To start, in San Francisco. These doors would be scaled down to a size that is cognitively possible but whimsically improbable. Tiny ones. Like, Alice Through The Looking Glass, maybe 15-25 inches or so. I don’t imagine them to be operable, but the more detailed in appearance the better.

Each artist would create his or her contribution to the project, where the frame, molding, window or lack of window, color, state of decay, and other intricate details speak to the artist’s unique take and contribution. The doors would be sent to me, to be installed by me and a couple others, around the bay area. Anyone based around here is more than welcome to join me as we find the best location for each piece. We’ll select spots that bode well aesthetically with the individual doors and are in areas that will see a lot of traffic but are least likely to be removed by anyone. Sounds contradictory? It is, but we’ll do our best.

The doors will be fixed with adhesive and installed in a way to look as natural as possible—as natural as a 16 inch tall weathered oak door can look on the side of parking garage. If anyone would want to stake out a spot before hand, via Google maps street view or some such method, and create a piece to be installed somewhere specific, that’s just fine. The installation process of each piece will be photographed along with reaction shots from passersby. The photographs, information, and story will probably be compiled together afterward– though into what I’m not sure. If this goes well I’d like to expand on or replicate the project in other cities.

Jeff has titled this particular door “Shut in”, which he regards as a sort of paranoia piece. It has a half dozen interior locks, and built into the door is an amber light that pours through the oversized keyhole, a sort of representation of whatever has been locked out and kept at bay. Jeff says that this is just a taste of what’s to come and that he should have all the doors in hand soon to mount all these impossible portals around the city within a month. So keep an eye out.

Also, he’d be happy to get some feedback on creative ideas for installation locations and don’t say “the dressing room at 21st Century” because we know at least one of you were thinking that.

> Update

Here are a few more “doors to nowhere” in the Mission, the Financial District and another one on Fern Alley!