1992, Ludwig Forum, Aachen, Germany
1992, private collection,
Wilhelm and Gabby Schurmann
"Purse" became two pieces — a temporary installation in the Ludwig Forum Museum, where the Shurmann collection was temporarily exhibited, and a permanent installation in the collectors' home.
Haha installed a coin slot on the top floor of the Ludwig Forum (a public museum, but you have to pay to get in) connected to a three-storey-long, clear PVC tube that plummeted down through the central loggia of the museum, then detoured out the window, connecting to an aluminum pipe through which money, dropping onto the sidewalk, ended up in the public domain.
Due to the architectural arrangement, visitors depositing money on the third floor could not see it shoot out onto the street and roll down the sidewalk, couldn't see if someone picked it up, or who that person might be. From inside the museum, downstairs, visitors could see people dropping money from above, and watch and hear as it clattered down the pipe and as it was diverted out the window, and maybe they could see the feet of someone outside the window, stopping and wondering what to do. From outside, passers-by saw only the drainpipe, and occasional effluence.
Wilhelm Shurmann's art collection is housed in a building adjacent to his house. An invisible airshaft about ten inches wide separates the two buildings. Haha proposed to install a bank into which deposits would disappear as they fell in the space between the two buildings, never to be seen or retrieved again. Haha designed a silver coin slot to be installed on the upper floor on the bedroom side of this narrow space, and a framed window to be installed below it on the side housing the collection. If you stood on the collection side, you could glimpse the money at one point in its fall, like glimpsing falling letters in glass mail slots in office buildings, but then it would disappear forever, inaccessible even to the owners of the house, unless the two houses were torn apart.