Since I came across this art installation on the same evening that I introduced myself to E.M. Forster’s classic A Room with a View, I am thinking of said “view” as a scene of architectural urban glory rather than the more natural vista typically afforded by a cabin. I believe this to be appropriate – it only heightens the contrast intended by the artists, Jenny Chapman and Mark Reigelman. Their creation, Manifest Destiny!, is a tiny cabin suspended from the side of Hotel des Arts in downtown San Francisco. Its visually arresting if nothing else. But it also feels like a commentary on simplicity versus complexity and what used to be considered enough.
“The cabin, hanging oddly from the side of a building, seems to represent the impossibility of the successful fulfillment of manifest destiny. A nation cannot be built on both opportunity and entitlement.”
I couldn’t agree more with this passage from the essay by Jeanne Garrity which accompanies the installation. It is of further interest that it was being installed last November just as the nearby Occupy! encampment was being turfed out of its ground by local law enforcement.