been that childhood thrill of having a secret hideaway, perhaps it is
why so many British males aspire to owning a garden shed but there
are entire sub-cultures devoted to sheds and their US version, the
Rita Rudner once
remarked, “Men don’t live very well by themselves. They don’t
even live like people. They live like bears with furniture.”
While some poor
fools matured as far as a man can, a debatable distance, there are
still some who have gone all out on a hidden home.
had ‘The Grot’. It is visited by following a path under a
forbidding bridge just over head height, then a plain stone faced and
humble building. Open the little wooden door and the opposite wall is
one large window showing the previously hidden scene, a small
waterfall and pool where the water rushes off the mountain and down
to the lake a mile away
In this place, the
poet gazed out at the scene of natural perfection and honed his
sonnets. Naturally, there’s also tales of the other Lake poets –
who brought Romanticism to the fore – having less noble uses of the
hideaway and one only has to consider the lifestyles of Shelly,
Byron, Coleridge and so on.
The poor little
outhouse has probably seen more drug abuse and degradation than Keith
There are other
secrets in the area, including a cave with a hidden door in one of
the Lakeland hills, whose location was a highly guarded secret and it
was so well hidden that even on return visits, finding the handle
that operated the opening mechanism was far from easy.
More lofty, was the
ambition of Gustave Eiffel, whose tower, it was discovered had a
secret apartment built into it, just under 300m high, for the use of
himself and his friends, such as Thomas Edison, who left a suitable
gift, one of his new phonograph machines.
There are other
stories, once rumours, such as the tale of secret tunnels under the
Playboy mansion leading to film stars houses. Well, some old
blueprints were found for designs leading to ‘Mr. J. Nicholson’,
‘Mr. K. Douglas’, ‘Mr. W. Beatty’ and ‘Mr. J Caan’.
A group of artists
in Providence, Rhode Island were inspired by a local shopping mall’s
adverts saying their place was so good, you’d want to live there,
explain the artists, “The central theme of the ads was that the
mall not only provided a rich shopping experience, but also had all
the things that one would need to survive and lead a healthy life.”
However, they were
inspired to create a home in the mall. They had watched the
construction of the mall and noticed that a space used for storing
materials used in the construction was not being used.
They spent time
sneaking in 200 tons of materials and created a 750 square ft
apartment, where they lived on and off for four years before one of
them was caught leaving the illicit apartment. He pleaded guilty to
trespass, but no harm seems to have been done.
The artist behind
the project says he was trying to build an oasis and admits, “Yes,
I have done other secret installations: The Tunnel.”
Other artists are
using malls. In Las Vegas’ City Center mall, the Louis Vuitton
hosts a permanent exhibit by James Turrell, whose use of light and
Granzfeld effect – where distances can’t be judged, causing the
brain to hallucinate.
So if home is where
the heart is, can it also be where the art is.