Artist's Statement

How can we understand wet without dry, even if we can’t have both at the same time? The emotional content of this work stemmed from my fear and necessary acceptance of ensuing menopause as well as from the history of this now-abandoned hotel for transients. I was leaving the storms of physical and emotional hormonal shifts but moving toward what? Dryness and death?

The quasi-musical, cacophonous sounds of water dripping in the WET room fill the entire corridor. The WET room rains continuously from a garden raindrip system suspended from the ceiling. These leaks fall at various speeds into objects placed throughout the room: overflowing wineglasses, a galvanized bucket with a hole in it, plastic flower pots and so forth, all generating a variety of interesting sounds.

Eventually the rain finds its way to a sealed sub-floor pool and up again via a pump behind the curtain, mimicking the cycles of evaporation and condensation in the usual wet Seattle November just outside. Visitors can move through the room and remain dry if they're careful.

The walls, ceiling and curtains of the WET room are a deep magenta. A lone goldfish inhabits the bowl at the table with place setting and seating for one. Artwork on the walls fills the periphery, depicting deserts, erupting volcanoes, and other such images, evoking a nostalgia of dryness and heat. I want to reach all the senses at once, to create an ambience of leaky, unraveling domesticity.

The DRY room across the hall is a mirror image of the WET room, but filled with dust rather than water. There is dust on the table, on the chair and in the wine glass, dust on the beige carpeting, dust on the desiccated bird, dead in its long-abandoned nest by the dark window with the worn curtains. Dust everywhere. Slivers of light from a faceted amber glass thrift-store lamp glance off the beige walls. The desiccated dryness of this room bespeaks an intense longing for water; the images on the walls are of lakes, rivers, and waterfalls.

— Ingrid Lahti, 1991