It’s a word you probably don’t use all that often, so let’s break it down.
It’s a noun and according to Merriam-Webster it means: “a throwing of a person or thing out of a window.”
If you live in the Bay Area, “defenestration” is something else… and it’s disappearing before our very eyes.
If you’ve ever driven past 6th & Howard in San Francisco, you know the place.
“We always had to slow down going through this intersection so the kids could look at it,” said “defenestration” fan Terri Hu.
“When I first came to San Francisco, my first landmark was this building,” said Legna Alvira. “How cool is it that a building is literally regurgitating furniture?”
Byron Jefferson agreed. “It’s like a landmark to me, you know.”
“It’s an icon, and I’m sad to see it go,” Tom McVitty.
Many people even have a favorite element.
“You know what I like the best?” asks Jefferson. “The couch hanging off the side of the roof.”
McVitty likes the TV on the other side.
Brian Goggin is the artist who gave us “defenestration”… but 17 years after creating it, “defenestration was defenestrated,” he said.
The tables, the chairs, the lamps, the vintage Hotpoint refrigerator, all caked with years of weather and pigeon aftermath — each piece hit the street showing its age.
Gritty, dirty, unpolished and much like the neighborhood this art called home, the building and the neighborhood are changing.
“The whole neighborhood – San Francisco’s changing, everything’s changing,” said McVitty.
There’s a certain tragic poetry in filthy art making way for shiny new housing. People went out of their way to tell KPIX 5 that whatever comes next, can’t replace what’s been lost.
Legna Alvira blew “defenestration” a kiss. “It’s gonna be so missed… it really will be missed.”
All of the pieces should be off the building in about a week. Then, the vacant Hugo Hotel will go in September.