1991, Castello di Rivara
Rivara (Torino), Italy
Castello di Rivara, c. 1000 ACE, sits on a hill above a medieval town in the Piedmont area of Italy, and a second, Baroque castle, built in the 18th century, sits right next to it. Rumor had it that the "new" castle had been built as a dowry for an otherwise unmarriageable daughter.
Haha replaced the glass windowpanes on the second floor of the old castle with mirrors, reflecting the surrounding landscape and parts of the exterior of the castle in its own facade. Inside, Haha transformed the two main rooms into large camera obscuras, in which the outside view was projected on the interior walls, in full color but upside down and backwards.
In a small room, a third camera obscura made with a pinhole formed a tiny image. Visitors lifted one of many available postcard-shaped pieces of transparent vellum up to the hole, each with Castello di Rivara printed on it in script. The vellum, once exposed, became a souvenir.
In a fourth room, narrow and windowless, at the center of the building, a pink rubber ice bag set at eye height into the plaster of the back wall presented another sort of aperture, its chrome lip flush with the plaster and its pink rubber folds extending inward.
The fifth component of the installation was an empty room with two open windows. Pink cushions built into the window sills encouraged visitors to lean out and survey the view, right side up and in open air.
Contradictory stories and oral histories of the castle taken from interviews by Federica Thiene with citizens of the town played in both Italian and English inside one of the dark rooms.