Perhaps one of the most iconic pieces in film set history is Dorothy Gale’s humble, white-shingled Kansas house, swept up by a twister and dropped on top of the Wicked Witch of the East in the Land of Oz. In honor of the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, a group of 15 artists in Maine created Resisting Entropy: There’s No Place Like Home. It’s a life-sized rendition of Dorothy’s beloved witch-killing home, built in the span of 24 hours from reclaimed construction materials like scrap metal, plywood, glass, and shingles. The house is being exhibited at the Farnsworth Museum as part of an exhibit called The Wonderful World of Oz: Selections from the Willard Carroll/Tom Wilhite Collection.
Resisting Entropy turns a combination of sculpture, installation art, performance, painting, and architecture into a kind of extreme sport. “No one slept,” Jared Cowan, a sculptor and co-owner of Asymmetrick Art Gallery who headed the project, tells Co.Design. “We spend a week amassing a pile of diverse materials. We ask all the people we know who are working in construction to save anything they’d throw away,” Jared says. “The size of the pile before we started building was about 15 by 15 feet in perimeter and 10 feet tall. We had tetanus shots on hand.”
On October 29, the group of 15, which included sculptors, painters, installation artists, and architects, played hooky from their day jobs. At noon, they entered a warehouse, in which they’d be locked until noon the next day.
So why the grueling 24-hour limit? Why not spend a few relaxed afternoons a week building the thing? “Getting any number of artists together and on the same page for longer than a day is challenging enough,” Jared says. “The main reason we decided on 24 hours is we wanted to have a sense of urgency and we didn’t want to have people hem and haw and try and make it be something other than what it was. All artists have pulled all-nighters trying to finish something. It was more about what was created in the time frame relative to what was available than the actual product. It cuts to the essence of what the artist is all about.”
Once 2:30 a.m. rolled around and everyone was overdosing on caffeine, they were ready to assemble the structure. “The floorplan was designed so that the house breaks down into 6x6x4 foot units, so it can be more easily moved and reassembled. One of the artists, Andy White, designed the main level cages based on the proportions of the famous Robert Indiana LOVE sculpture–that sculpture breaks down into four pieces,” Jared says. Another artist wired the entire house so that each room has a light source, and it glows from the inside like a giant dollhouse.
Jared plans to stick to the time-limit format in future projects: “I want to confine some musician friends in a room for 48 hours and have them compose music together without any previous plans,” he says.
The artists filmed the entire 24 hours and condensed it into a five-and-a-half-minute time-lapse video. Resisting Entropy: There’s No Place Like Home is on view at the Farnsworth Museum until March 30th, 2014.