Events | "Layers of Los Angeles: Memory and Speculative Futures of Place" mit Frances Anderton, Lauren Bon & Norman Klein im Gespräch. Moderiert von Mimi Zeiger.

Thomas Mann House | 8. Dezember 2023 | 4:30 (MEZ)

Die renommierte Autorin Frances Anderton, die Umweltkünstlerin Lauren Bon und der Stadthistoriker Norman Klein nähern sich der Stadt Los Angeles aus unterschiedlichen Perspektiven und mit verschiedenen Methoden: gemeinsam werden sie darüber diskutieren, wie die einzigartige Geschichte, Architektur und Umwelt von L.A. die Stadt geprägt haben. Das Gespräch wird von der Kritikerin und Kuratorin Mimi Zeiger moderiert.

*Diese Veranstaltung findet in englischer Sprache statt*

L.A. history and fiction require a unique historical template in order to discover its hidden structures and story. Contrary to the conventional myth, the city is by no means ungraspable. It is layered in very unusual ways and the story of these layers began as a set of policies from the late 19th century onwards. Even if these policies are long gone, they still affect the city today, shifting L.A.’s infrastructure tectonically. They powerfully affect ethnic, environmental, architectural, and racial stories in the city's fabric and can hide its vectors of power. As the city grew in the early 20th century and agglomerated rapidly, it annexed over sixty little towns by 1925. Ever growing, decade by decade, L.A. is now a deeply layered metropolitan region of over fifteen million people— what urban historian Norman Klein calls the New Byzantium: a crossroads city state.

This panel of renowned L.A. authors, artists, and critics will examine the city’s ironic and iconic contradictions from a variety of angles, like different layers of an interface. Environmental Artist Lauren Bon will contribute from the perspective of environmental art and its unique relationship with the city. Through her artistic endeavors, she strives to engage with the city's environment and communities, seeking to connect with its essence and evoke meaningful reflections. Frances Anderton examines L.A. through the lens of its changing housing concepts: L.A. has always been equated with the suburban single-family home with a big backyard. But for decades, the city has also been the laboratory for exceptional experiments in multifamily housing. Anderton makes the case that well-designed, equitable, connected living is tomorrow’s American dream. In his many seminal publications on the region, urban historian Norman Klein explores the process of memory erasure in the city. In his famous ‘anti-tours’, he looks at sites that no longer exist or point to forgotten histories, excavating the way information technology has recreated the city, how the Pacific economy is changing the structure of urban life, the impact of collapsing infrastructures, and the restructuring of those very districts that had been ‘forgotten’.

In a conversation with moderator Mimi Zeiger, acclaimed L.A.-based critic, editor and curator, the panel will examine how L.A.’s unique history, architecture and environmental art have responded to these challenges and various cultural layers. The panel seeks to explore the paradoxes of L.A., how it is simultaneously centralized and decentralized, and what this can tell us about the city today. How will L.A. confront the challenges of a new age of globalization? How can these different approaches unveil insightful perspectives about the city's past, present, and the potential paths it might take in the future? The panel invites the audience to actively engage in the process of understanding the city's complexities.


Frances Anderton is the author of Common Ground: Multifamily Housing in Los Angeles, published by Angel City Press. She co-produced 40 Years of Building Community, a short film about the nonprofit housing developer Community Corporation of Santa Monica, and recently published a research paper on “Awesome and Affordable” housing as a Fellow of Friends of Residential Treasures: Los Angeles (FORT: LA). She contributes reporting on design and architecture to KCRW public radio station, for which she previously hosted the show DnA: Design and Architecture, and produced the current affairs shows Which Way, LA? and To The Point. Honors include the 2010 Esther McCoy Award, from the Architectural Guild of USC School of Architecture, where she currently teaches. Common Ground garnered a Gold award for best Regional Nonfiction from Foreword Reviews.


Lauren Bon is an environmental artist from Los Angeles. Her practice, Metabolic Studio, explores self-sustaining and self-diversifying systems of exchange that feed emergent properties that regenerate the life web. Some of her works include: Not A Cornfield, which transformed and revived an industrial brownfield in Downtown L.A. into a thirty-two-acre cornfield for one agricultural cycle; 100 Mules Walking the Los Angeles Aqueduct, a 240-mile performative action that aimed to reconnect the city of Los Angeles with the source of its water for the centenary of the opening of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. Her studio’s current work, Bending the River, aims to utilize L.A.’s first private water right to deliver 106-acre feet of water annually from the L.A. River to over 50 acres of land in the historic core of Downtown.


Norman Klein is a critic, urban and media historian and novelist. His books include: The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory; Seven Minutes: The Life and Death of the American Animated Cartoon; The Vatican to Vegas: The History of Special Effects; Freud in Coney Island and Other Tales; and the database novel Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles, 1920-86. He is currently completing an interactive historical science fiction novel titled The Imaginary Twentieth Century. His essays have appeared in anthologies, museum catalogs, newspapers, scholarly journals and on the web. His work (including museum shows) has centered on the relationship between collective memory and power in urban spaces; the thin line between fact and fiction; and erasure, forgetting, scripted spaces and the social imaginary.


Mimi Zeiger is a Los Angeles-based critic, editor, and curator. She was co-curator of the U.S. Pavilion for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale and co-curator of the 2020-2021 Exhibit Columbus entitled New Middles: From Main Street to Megalopolis, What is the Future of the Middle City? She has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Architectural Review, Metropolis, and Architect. She is an opinion columnist for Dezeen and former West Coast Editor of The Architects Newspaper. Zeiger is the 2015 recipient of the Bradford Williams Medal for excellence in writing about landscape architecture, where she is books editor.


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Thomas Mann House Los Angeles

An event by Thomas Mann House Los Angeles