30 July 2012

Imminent Domains

The collaged, sutured merging of two separate sites from vintage postcards, as done by artist Mary Lydecker. Slightly amusing, I suppose; at least at first glance. But ultimately, I'm not so sure about how "dystopic" these scenarios in the end, in terms of uncanniness. Likewise with the artist's discussion of how the series was prompted by an idea that might be described as a process of de-reification in terms of land reclamation.

The reason being that some of these images doesn't seem quite so far-fetched, particularly given what certain portions of Los Angeles and Orange County, CA looked like back in the mid-20th century. You figure the artist must've seen these images of what Long Beach and Huntington Beach looked like around that time...

The Wired piece on the series features some comments by the artist. One in particular jumps out at me, strikes me as a familiar observation:

"The way that we manage our resources is often ad hoc; the rush to take advantage of a natural resource or develop an available parcel inhibits overall planning efforts, leaving us with a diverse patchwork of landscapes and spatial relationships."

If only because the comments vaguely echo some thoughts voiced by artist Robert Smithson in 1 1973 interview. Speaking to Alison Skye, Smithson talked about his use of the landscape in relation to things -- citing the story of the "acidental" creation of the Salton Sea during the Teddy Roosevelt administration, suburban sprawl, and strip-mining. In relation to that last item, Smithson offered:

"It seems that architects build in an isolated, self-contained, ahistorical way. They never seem to allow for any kind of relationships outside of their grand plan. And this seems to be true in economics, too. Economics seem to be isolated and self-contained and conceived of as cycles, so as to exclude the whole entropic process. There's every little consideration of natural resources in terms of what the landscape will look like after the mining operations or farming operations are completed. So that a kind of blindness ensues. I guess it's what we call blind profit making. And then suddenly they find themselves within a range of desolation and wonder how they got there. So it's a rather static way of looking at things. I don't think things go in cycles. I think that things just change from one situation to the next, there's really no return."

All of which reminds me, I guess I'm ridiculously overdue (once again) for completing the next portion(s) of this series. Tsk.

[ Wired, via Mammoth. ]

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