Video installation and a 33ft x 1.5ft water color painting on paper mounted on table with 16mm film rewinds

Traces and Lines /Western Ave Project, 2001

Western Ave, Los Angeles. 30 miles

In L.A., Western Ave is a “surface road” not a Freeway, which runs through the heart of the city.  It is a river, a central corridor linking civic and commercial zones as well as hundreds of neighborhoods that filter down through it. It is a straight shot through the most impoverished areas of the country to the most affluent areas in the world. Douglas Suisman, author of The Los Angeles Boulevard, 1989, argues that in L.A., boulevards do more than establish an organizational pattern, they “constitute the irreducible armature of the city’s public space and are therefore, charged with social and political significance.”  

As you drive up Western Ave, the signage of the mini-malls, gas stations, and storefronts blend from Sanskrit, to Mandarin, Hindi, Portuguese to Spanish, one language after another united by an address yet standing alone like islands. This line marks a landscape of many voices, many languages, many lifestyles, all tourists to one another, who cohabit this city with a history of barely 75 years. I see Western Ave as a virtual line transecting this “continuos city” as a metaphor, a symbol of variations and rhythms transplanted onto an artificially irrigated desert. This is LA, “a last-stop” a landscape of the future and a metaphor of the Post-Modern world.  

This project is a “movie-painting” from video frames that I extracted from each mile along the journey, a fusion of Chinese scroll painting, Western landscape painting, mapping and film. Filmed in Los Angeles in while traveling up the 33 miles of Western Ave- the longest city street in the world. 

Spaces Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio, 2001