Brian Goggin's “Defenestration” has become a San Francisco institution in the 16 years it's been spilling over into 6th and Howard streets. The chairs, bathtubs, tables, and grandfather clocks dancing towards their demise on the Hugo Hotel's abandoned walls has long brightened a bleak stretch of SoMa's thoroughfares.
So when news broke earlier this year the Hugo Hotel would be demolished, Defenestration along with it, many were rightfully sad. But, fortunately, Goggin is now working on a new structure just four blocks away at 9th and Market.
Goggin tells the Chronicle that “Caruso's Dream” will feature 13 grand pianos being shaken up by an earthquake:
“The whole piece is inspired by this moment when the opera star Enrico Caruso was awakened by the Great Calamity of April 18, 1906, while he was staying at the Palace Hotel,” Goggin says. “He did not know if he was awake or still dreaming as he was walking to the window to see the results of the ongoing earthquake.”
And the piece is more than just glass pianos:
A music and light component will be permanent. At night, the glass pianos will shine from within, like old incandescent bulbs. The sound of Caruso singing will be on KPH (Palace Hotel), recreating a station that once emanated from the hotel. At 90.9 on the FM dial, it will have a reach of 300 feet.
The piece is set to be unveiled on Feb. 23, with Goggin leading a New Orleans-style funeral procession from Defenestration to the new piece, including 13 pianists and three opera singers in tow.