Thomas Gombotz and Antonietta Putzu, Pia Rönicke, Una Szeemann, Zlatan Vukosavljevic
Fri, 21.03.2003–Sun, 23.03.2003
MAK Center L.A., Mackey Apartments
Architects Thomas Gombotz and Antonietta Putzu developed very different projects from a shared methodology. Together they
created an L.A. Kit to assist local residents in documenting favorite spots in Los Angeles through text and photography.
Supplied with disposable cameras and questionaires, the responses by the participants enabled the visiting architects to create
an archive of private sites throughout the city which contrasted with the usual tourist highlights. While both architects
distributed kits to 50 Angelenos, their subsequent work yielded divergent results. Putzu emphasized her interest in seeing
the city beyond the usual Hollywood façade and a desire to decodify the generally abstract language of maps. She displayed
the more subjective L.A. revealed through the kits in an installation which focused on a large map on the floor with models
at several of the sites. Visitors were able to physically traverse this map of the city, interacting with landmarks whose
significance is personal rather than civic or historic. Gombotzs project displayed his avid interest in documenting
information. The randomly-selected participants he solicited were intended to comprise a mix of social classes, ages, and
professions. To assure that he cut through preconceived categories of urban conditions, Gombotz travelled through the city
in a variety of ways, observing different patterns of use and experiencing unknown territories. He referred to the public
and private sites selected as city fragments, which he reassembled and systematically represented as data.
Artist Pia Roenicke collaborated with Los Angeles-based artist Michael Baers in a research project that examined the central
role of housing on the development of L.A. The artists interviewed six Los Angeles architect/planners in a video studio, allowing
the interviewees to respond to a series of slides depicting local housing typologies. With the interviewee controlling the
slide projector remote and questions interposed only as needed, the interviews were quite revealing of each architects
distinct relationship to the city, as well as to the practices of architecture and urban planning. Presented as a two-video
installation, one video showed the interview subject and a corresponding tape depicted the progression of the slides as they
were manipulated by the interviewee.
Artist Una Szeeman used her time in Los Angeles to develop a film project called Montewood Hollyverita, which transposed the
story of the Swiss utopian community with the celebrity mythology of Hollywood. Just as Hollywood represented a certain kind
of dreamworld, Monte Verità, the "mountain of truth, was founded in the early 1900s by reformers, vegetarians, writers, musicians, dancers, revolutionaries,
psychoanalysts, architects, theosophists, and anarchistspeople who wanted to make the world a better place. Shot in
digital video, the film took place in present time and used art stars, including Eva and Adele, Jason Rhoades, Paul McCarthy,
and Hans Weigand, among others, to recreate various characters from the Swiss community. Szeeman presented movie posters,
a trailer, photographs, scale models, and sets at the Mackey Apartments.
In his project at the Mackey Apartments, artist Zlatan Vukosavljevic contrasted two building typologies from the same era:
R.M. Schindlers sleek, transparent Modernism as evidenced in the Mackey Apartments (1939-40) and militaristic structures
from World War II. Creating an observation tower on the Mackey roof terrace and bunker-like sculptures in one of the apartments,
the artist explored the logistics of architectural intervention and its representation. The military bunkers of the 1940s
were instruments of control; their counterpart dummy bunkers were used for deceit and propaganda. These imposing functions
were echoed when the structures were illuminated on the night of the opening by an LAPD helicopter doing a fly by.