Please join us for the 32nd Final Projects presentation by the MAK Center's Artists and Architects in residency.
Vienna-based artist Peter Fritzenwallner will be presenting The California Ark, a multi-part installation in both the house and grounds of the Schindler House that aims to investigate objects as related to site, and site as related to history. Greeting Schindler House visitors from the sidewalk will be his sculptural reference to the beautiful mosaic fountain that once stood in the inner courtyard of Irving Gill's famous, and sadly destroyed, Dodge House (1916), placed underneath a California oak tree that was recently preserved by the City of West Hollywood (through a rerouting of the sidewalk, and installation of a permanent crutch to support the tree). This juxtaposition of the discarded with the preserved will carry into Fritzenwallner's interior installation of photographs, charts, and films that document the artist's study of Southern California's estate sales.
Massachusetts-based Jae Rhim Lee will be presenting the Los Angeles debut of The Infinity Burial Project, "a modest proposal for an alternative postmortem option which promotes and facilitates the process of corpse decomposition and toxin remediation." The culmination of several earlier project-based artworks, The Infinity Burial Project expands Lee's work from art, into both the environmental technology and funerary industries. The project features the training of existing edible mushrooms to decompose and remediate toxins in human tissue ("Infinity Mushroom"), the development of a membership society (the "Decompiculture Society") devoted to the promotion of death acceptance and the practice of decompiculture (the cultivation of decomposing organisms), a decomposition 'kit' consisting of a cocktail of capsules which hold various decomposing organisms ("Decompiculture Kit"), and the display of burial suits embedded with decomposition activators.
Didactic material installed in the R.M. Schindler studio and grounds (where Schindler generated his own radical propositions) will present the three main objectives of Lee's project: 1) to develop an alternative to existing funeral practices which utilize energy and resources and attempt to preserve dead bodies with toxic chemicals, 2) challenge our cultural death denial, and 3) explore the relationship between death denial and environmental degradation in our postmortem practices.
Architects Gregor Holzinger, Florian Schafschetzy and Eva Sommeregger, all working out of Vienna, have rigorously documented and simulated the traveler's experience of moving through the infrastructural landscapes of the American West. Driving through Utah, Nevada, Northern & Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico has allowed these three architects to explore the unique brand of urbanism characteristic of the western United States, and its particular views about city space. The auto passenger's skewed and speedup experience of landscape is recreated in their installation inside the house and in the Schindler House driveway, designed to allow viewers to select their different points of focus as they "travel" through locations like Rio Vista, a failed exuburban development where streets, sewers, and signage are all in place - but there are almost no buildings. Holzinger, Schafschetzy, and Sommeregger use this real estate anomaly and other unique features of the built environment west of the Mississippi River to engage and critique notions of Scale (how perception is altered by the freeway), Scape (the nonexistence of untouched space), and Scope (how a GPS device can alter our views as much as a kaleidoscope).
Beginning from the question of "What does one go through to come to Los Angeles from elsewhere and become an actor?" Borjana Ventzislavova, an artist based in Vienna, has produced American Dream Acting, a video work that intends to present a portrait of the film industry's newcomers, shot in and presented in two of L.A.'s different architectural icons, both of which play unique roles in L.A. mythology.
After conducting an extensive casting call, the artist selected eight actors to join her at Pierre Koenig's famous Case Study House #22 (1960) for a daylong shoot. The actors were encouraged to improvise and share their narratives throughout the day. Ranging from tales about their inability to actually get to L.A. to their first experiences with acting to the sharpening of their survival skills, these performers aid the artist in creating a portrait of the magnetic quality of L.A., in a location known as much for its photographs as its actual architecture. For Final Projects at the Schindler House, Austrian émigré R.M. Schindler's first mark on L.A., Ventzislavova will screen the film in a two-channel projection in the Pauline Schindler studio, and install additional material that presents the actors in moments of both extroverted display and internal critical reflection. MAK Center visitors should enjoy considering the role of architecture, both pronounced and implied, in relation to the stories presented.