This class would be an investigation and resurrection of the spectres
of LA History through theory, urban remapping and site-specific art/activist
Part one would consist of theoretical and historical reading about Los
Angeles (Norman Klein's History of Forgetting? Cadillac Desert? Joan
Didion? others?) and would try to focus on communities, spaces and ecosystems destroyed by hegemonic political and economic powers in LA.
Examples might be the original Llano del Rio Collective, the Chavez Ravine neighborhood pre-Dodger stadium, punk rock Hollywood Boulevard in the 80's, dead orange groves and restaraunts that served bear meat. We might even
get pre-historic and study the geology and palentology of the area,
for a truly panhistoric look at the specters of the landscape.
Part two, after researching we would locate and visit the sites of burial of past L.A. we want to focus on, map and reimagine them in preparation for a final project / intervention. The key here is to examine the forces
behind the disappearances (gentrification, water rights issues,
anti-communist feeling, legal changes etc...) and analyze how these
forces continue to impact the same space in LA. But furthermore, we would try to show how that past is still encoded in those spaces and continues to haunt them.
Part three, would involve a creative remapping of these "haunted"
places in order to resurrect the history. For example, (and this might be too simplistic) but
opening a guerilla punk club on Hollywood boulevard for one night
might "resurrect" the punk LA 80's, especially if it disrupted the
normal flow of commerce & tourism and used key sites from the LA punk movement.
Other projects could include site specific art to be
embedded into the landscape permanently, buried time capsules, online
zines/webpages, spatial takeovers or other forms of art that remake
the terrain to reflect its spectral history. Monuments? Projects would be open-ended and
could be collaborative or individual, depending on interest in a given location.
All these events could happen / be installed on one day and it could be called Spectral
LA 2010 or something like that.
Part Four The end "product" if we want one, might be an online map of historical Los
Angeles, with a list of our artistic interventions (and some of these art
interventions would hopefully remain permanently or semi-permanently)
as well as a website with information, video clips & photos of the "Spectral LA Night"
Methodology: "A historian who takes this as his point of departure stops telling the sequence of events like the beads of a rosary. Instead, he grasps the constellation which his own era has formed with a definite earlier one. Thus he establishes a conception of the present as the ‘time of the now’ which is shot through with chips of Messianic time."
-- Walter Benjamin