New Yorkers famously approach commuting with fierce focus, staring straight ahead of them or at the ground as they pound the pavement from one location to another. Assembly Required: A Wandering Sukkah is a fine art, interactive sukkah experience designed to visually and energetically interrupt this urban rhythm. Created by artists Danielle Durchslag and Ryan Frank, the project is a mobile, artist-designed sukkah built in the Invisible Dog Art Center back garden, hoisted onto the bed of a pick up truck, and then set off to tour New York City. The truck will drive through New York City’s five boroughs during Sukkot, parking at varied locations over the course of the holiday.
During the holiday of Sukkot Jews are commanded to build a sukkah, or hut, and eat and sleep inside the temporary structure for seven days. The sukkah is built according to a set of religious guidelines and restrictions, determining everything from the roof materials to the size of the walls. These dwellings symbolize the physical structures Jews lived in during their 40 years wandering the desert, and every fall they can be seen dotting the New York City landscape, residing in public parks and next to private homes. Though most New Yorkers routinely see sukkahs, very few step inside.
Lubavitchers provide Mitzvah tanks, wandering ritual vehicles, and beckon Jews inside to create a more religious world. They believe each Jew who adheres to Jewish practice helps beckon the messiah. A Wandering Sukkah also employs a vehicular ritual delivery system, but for all New Yorkers, regardless of their religious identity. The artists believe each city dweller that enters their sukkah emerges a calmer and more contented urban citizen. In giving ordinary New Yorkers a temporary shelter, they aim to change the pace and energy of New York City for the better, one visitor at a time.
Each day during the weeklong holiday of Sukkot, September 27th – October 4th, 2015, A Wandering Sukkah will park in a different neighborhood throughout the five boroughs. Arts organizations and community centers serve as local “neighborhood hosts” in each neighborhood where the sukkah truck parks, announcing the sukkah’s location and welcoming their constituents to participate in the project. Welcoming one visitor at a time, the sukkah will offer a curated view of the sky within a peaceful, semi-private respite from urban chaos. Rather than ask New Yorkers to come to a set location, A Wandering Sukkah comes to them, inviting them to simply pause, enter the enclosed space, regard the sky, and listen as the city rushes by.
Assembly Required: A Wandering Sukkah will be on view throughout New York City from September 27th – October 4th, 2015 and is being presented by The Invisible Dog Art Center.