St. Cecilia’s Convent, Brooklyn, NY. The nuns who were teaching at the Catholic school next door have left. The school is closed and the convent is unoccupied since more than a year.
Paint is peeling everywhere. There is a wood paneled dining room, some offices and a small, dark chapel with stained glass windows on the first floor. The nun’s former living quarters occupy the second and third floors. Each one of the small rooms comes with a window and a closet and is just big enough to fit in a single bed, a dresser or desk and a chair.
For the exhibition system:system all doors are wide open. Visitors step into room after room and look at the artworks on display. The door to room 3C on the third floor is ajar, just a crack open to peek in. There is light inside the room and loud music playing.
A curious visitor tries to enter. He pushes the door and feels a soft resistance. He retreats and the door returns to its original position. He pushes again, this time a little harder. The door gets pushed back. He whispers “Hello”. He slips a note under the door. No response.
He waits and then suddenly pushes the door again. The pressure is matched from the inside. Always. Unless someone forces his or her entry.
During the course of the three day show 91 people tried to open the door softly, 53 tried medium hard, 16 tried hard, 3 pulled the door shut from the outside for a while. 3 people entered the room forcefully.