The Eden's Edge Project

  • Exhibition
  • Garage Exchange

1137 S Cochran Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90019

The fifth iteration of the MAK Center’s Garage Exchange Vienna-Los Angeles series at the Garage Top featured former artist-in-residence Gerhard Treml alongside artists Kaucyila Brooke and David Lamelas.

Gerhard Treml is part of a multi-disciplinary team investigating narrative contexts and how they shape the spatial relations we use to interpret the physical world. The team is particularly concerned with vernacular environments where everyday stories and mythologies are enacted. This exhibition featured one of Hollywood’s most iconic landscapes, the Californian desert. Tightly connected to movies and myths relaying the American meta-narratives of the Wild West, the new frontier, and the land of opportunity, this particular landscape is exemplary of how places can trans-locally frame identities. Treml presented nine short films based on interviews with desert residents, creating a portrait of the area from the life stories of its people. The films were projected onto a sand screen on the floor of the gallery. Working with Treml were Leopold Calice, Laurent Fathollazadeh, Christina Linortner, Elisabeth Marko, Tarique Qayumi, Steve Rowell, Edith Schwarzl, and Hannah Stippl.

David Lamelas and Kaucyila Brooke extended this discourse as they destabilized and revealed politics of identity in their narratives of the American desert. What literary philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin pointed out as the interpretational power of genre is impressively demonstrated in David Lamelas’s film, The Desert People (1974), about five people on a road trip in which each interviews members of the Papago tribe, discovering very different “truths.” Road movie scenes interact with a straight-to-camera documentary in a semi-fictional storyline reflective of the filmmaker’s personal situation. Lamelas produced the film as part of his process of appropriation when he moved from London to Los Angeles.

In This Land is Your Land, Kaucyila Brooke created a sequence of multiple color photomontage panels set against the backdrop of Monument Valley, John Ford’s favorite filming location. There, she staged female characters discussing their relationship to the narrative of the Western landscape. In this piece, the narrative was revealed as tool to reconfigure and reflect on the gendered power relations coded into the Western genre. The work was originally produced in 1987 while Brooke was living in Tucson, Arizona and it shows her early interest in seeking out traces of women’s desire long absent in the Western narrative. This Land is Your Land was restored specifically for The Eden’s Edge Project.

About Garage Exchange

In order to expand the cultural exchange at the core of the Artists and Architects-in-Residence program, The Austrian Federal Chancellery and the MAK Center invite Austrian and Vienna-based alumni residents to collaborate with L.A. artists and architects of their choosing at the Garage Top at the Mackey Apartments for the Garage Exchange Vienna-Los Angeles exhibition series.

This exhibition series is made possible by The Austrian Federal Chancellery and also supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

Photograph: Still from Time Square, Eden’s Edge, 2014, Video, 6:30 min.