Final Projects: Group XXIV - The Mystery of Life

  • Residency Show

835 N Kings Road
West Hollywood, CA 90069

An exhibition by the MAK Center Artists and Architects-in-Residence.

Architect Christina Linortner investigated the public aspects of what Reyner Banham called the foothill ecology of Los Angeles — the homogenous private residential areas from the Pacific Palisades to Silverlake where the “fat life” takes place behind “laurel shrubs” (Banham). Although these appear to be private, segregated enclaves, the traditional distinction between the public and private realms has long been disrupted, in great part due to their reproduction in glossy magazines and movies and television shows. Using the format of interior design magazines, the project tracked the more or less invisible traces of domestic workers, such as housekeepers and gardeners, a population that forms an almost parallel society to the wealthy hillside residents. Linortner created a fictional interior design magazine that utilized published articles about the houses of celebrities and star architects as the basis for new pieces that incorporated story lines derived from interviews with domestic workers.

Artist Zenita Komad created an exhibition of her paintings accompanied by performance by Los Angeles musician Bob Rokos, who composed musical versions of texts written and selected by Komad that were precisely linked to the installation of her paintings. A selection of titles of the songs performed include: The Dunes are Changed by the Wind, Now is the Key, Symphony of the Joyous Lament, and Let Your Light Shine. Komad has proclaimed that “the power going through her doesn’t ask, it Diagnoses, Decides, and Determines. (D-D-D). What are you currently working on,” it asks, “with your team of poets and tone engineers, fathers and interpreters, painters and inventors enriching the city? What are you digesting at the moment – what are you being subjected to; what pens do you allow to dance across canvasses like so many dervishes? Who are you going to unfurl this time? Come over right away!”

Artist Gerhard Treml’s project used photographic means to imitate the methods of statistical sampling. He reproduced a statistically representative population of Los Angeles as a photo prop installation, visualizing what is usually the content of databanks. To actually realize the piece, Treml traveled across the city of Los Angeles taking pictures of pedestrians in congested crossings in commercial areas. Locations were selected based on commuter logistics for various neighborhoods. The camera was equipped with an angle lens scope to enable the image production to be an anonymous operation. By this ongoing process, Treml’s studio became a data bank translating photo footage into standardized photo props that consider statistical vectors such as city origin, age, gender and ethnicity. Treml’s final presentation presented an overview of L.A.’s representative crowd that relied on the leeway between factual statistical data and their interpretation, allowing artistic strategies to enter supposedly “objective” methodologies.

Peles Empire (Marc J. Cohen, Katharina Stoever, and Barbara Wolff), explored historical architectural styles within contemporary social surroundings. Named after a Romanian castle designed by the Viennese architect Wilhelm Doderer in 1883, Peles Empire reproduced castle rooms within their own domestic surroundings. Their project at the Mackey Apartments was the fourth room of the castle to be recreated, and was the site for a series of art exhibitions. For their Final Projects at the Schindler House, the Peles recreated a salon culture, bringing together art, architecture and food and referencing the salons hosted by Pauline Schindler. The room was created using parts of the installation from the Mackey Apartments, which employed photocopies as wallpaper, layering a nineteenth century baroque interior onto the modernist architecture of R.M. Schindler. The Peles Dining Room utilized menus relating to stories, historical themes or occasions. The Dining Room mimicked the idea of transforming one room into another by transforming one banquet into another — namely the Peles’ first dining room menu into one presented on the opening night of the Final Projects exhibition. This took the form of a 12-course tasting menu on a table extending from the Peles room into the garden, in alignment with Schindler’s idea of the garden as a living space. A very limited number of seats at the dinner table were available for reservation.