In the 1970s, architectural historian and cultural theorist Charles Jencks began photographing the exaggerated houses that he encountered driving around Los Angeles, including West Hollywood. At a time when residential architecture in America was becoming increasingly standardized, he called attention to these fantasy houses that had been modified or built to exude personal character and variation.
Daydream Houses of Los Angeles, published by Rizzoli in 1978, includes Jencks’ snapshots of about 60 of these expressive and excessive houses, paired with witty captions and oftentimes an address, so readers could embark on their own house tours.
In this illustrated presentation, a collaboration with the Southland Institute, Aurora Tang will discuss her ongoing rephotography project revisiting Daydream Houses of Los Angeles, considering the informal photograph, the enthusiast, the tour, the changing appearance of our city’s residential neighborhoods, and the significance of Jencks’ book today, over 40 years after its release.
Aurora Tang is a curator and researcher based in Los Angeles. Since 2009 she has been a program manager at the Center for Land Use Interpretation. From 2011–2015 she was managing director of High Desert Test Sites. She has taught at Otis College of Art and Design, and is a founding board member of Common Field.
The Southland Institute (for critical, durational, and typographic post-studio practices) is dedicated to exploring, identifying, and implementing meaningful, affordable, sustainable alternatives in art and design education in the United States. At its core are an unaccredited postgraduate typography workshop and evolving public online repository of educational resources, built around the tools, processes, histories, and discourses of typography, design, and critical art-making. It is also a forum for inquiry into the processes, potentials, and complications of higher education and its attendant structures and systems.