Monday, March 9, 2009

Shangri L.A.: Architecture As A State Of Flux

The 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica currently hosts Shangri L.A.: Architecture as a State of Flux, an unfairly overlooked, collective vision of Los Angeles in 2019, aimed at challenging the way by which cities emerge. The exhibit begins the Arts Center's Almost Utopia 2009 series; it will be followed by Cults, Collectives & Cocooning, Post American LA, and Wanted: Alive.

"The overarching theme of the show is almost-utopia L.A," says curator Ichiro Irie. Taking cue from the figurative meaning of a Shangri-la -- an earthly paradise, or utopia, created by the Hollywood industry straight out of L.A. -- Irie invited artists to create works "that approach architecture as something fluid and ephemeral, at times virtual, interactive, recycled and purely cosmetic, building on and dissecting what is already there, exploiting in between spaces, and shifting as needs, values, emotions and desires shift."

The show's centerpiece is James Rojas' Santa Monica Off the Grid, an interactive model made of removable household items such as screws, play blocks, dominos and imitation glassware that invite visitors to rebuild the city as they envision it. Other works include Infranatural's Node incubations; Debbie Hu Ricks & Cedar Miller's Evidence of Time; Mutual Assured Architecture by Marco Lutyens, Daniela Frogheri & Fernando Meneses; Anibal Catalan's Morphosis; and Chris Tallon's Architorture (a twisted tribute to Frank Gehry?)

Irie's hope in putting the show together was that people would "experience a sense of wonderment in terms of what form and space could be in terms of architecture." Mission accomplished. THE has an excellent review of the show and artists by Tibby Rothman, "Shangri L.A. Where Art and Architecture Meet" (not available online but extracts here, here & here.) Additional review in ArtScene.
UPDATE: Putting Urban Planning in the Hands of the People [GOOD]
photo of James Rojas' "Santa Monica Off the Grid" LA Frog

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