30 Jan

Karen’s Room at the Waldorf Hotel

Karen's Room-5

Karen's Room-6

Paul Wong has put together a site-specific installation/performance work in room 103 of the Waldorf Hotel. The room is covered floor to ceiling, windows, furniture, bathroom and all, in bedsheets collected for charities by an activist named Karen.

Karen is back at The Hotel from her most-recent goodwill missions around the globe. Karen will be back at it collecting and recycling the hotel sheets and linens and repurposing them for worthy causes. A well-meaning activist, Karen has contributed our used bedding to numerous charities in Vancouver and around the world, including the homeless, the destitute in the Downtown Eastside and Surrey, and to victims of natural disasters in Haiti and Pakistan.

Boris and I visited the site on Friday before (delicious) dinner downstairs at Nuba. I’d been curious to see this installation but after seeing it in person I’m not really sure how I feel about it.

Karen's Room-3

Karen's Room-4

I liked the aesthetics of the installation, with every surface of the room taken over by the sheets it became this wonderful cocooned space away from the noise of the rest of the hotel. The part I didn’t like was the video projection on the back wall showing the character of Karen going about her work and talking with visitors from what I guess was a previous performance. I felt it took away from the experience to watch her secondhand instead of interacting with Karen in person. But I guess it’s not possible for her to be on site all the time.

Karen's Room-2

Karen's Room

Go see it for yourself if you get the chance. Karen’s Room is open 5 to 9 pm, seven days a week, and will be on site at the Waldorf Hotel until Feb. 11, 2011.

© Rachael Ashe