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Postopolis! LA Opening Night: A talk with Bettina Korek and Brian Roettinger
by Julienne Lin

On the opening night of Postopolis! LA, I found myself circling Flower and 6th street trying to find parking at the Standard. I entered the hotel that Sex & the City hyped up, and rode the elevator to the chic rooftop bar where the event was taking place. Jeffrey Inaba, Director of C-Lab, features editor of Volume magazine, and founder of INABA architecture, was finishing up a presentation among an audience full of architecture experts, art lovers, and socialites of L.A. I managed to steal a moment with Bettina Korek, founder of ForYourArt and Brian Roettinger, the designer and brains behind ForYourArt’s notable event maps, to talk about the concept behind the maps and L.A.’s architectural sphere.
ForYourArt logo

JL: How many maps have you guys produced so far?

BK: This is our fifth or sixth map?

BR: It’s the fifth L.A. one, and we made a Miami one for Art Basel.

BK: Its been an amazing collaboration with the designers, and Brian has helped shape and drive the way.

BR: Each one sort of evolves because the content changes, and the content affects the structure of the whole thing. We don’t start from scratch every time, but we sorta have to rethink, “How is this one going to work?” Especially for this map, the pull-out section has to relate to the content in a specific way, so it wasn’t like we just designed one, and we’re done for all the other ones.

JL: It’s not like it serves as a template. It always has to be different?

BK: It’s always new.

JL: For this event’s map did you just ask contributors what their favorite places in L.A. were and mapped them out?

BK: Yeah, it’s a combination of the things the contributors pick, and then our own editorial voice on what you should be interested in going to see in L.A.

BR: It’s very neighborhood specific. If you take a look at the map, it relates to a particular neighborhood, and it comes through in the design. I think some people frequent some neighborhoods more than others, so it’s kind of nice to let the design cater to everyone.

JL: Have you lived in L.A. your whole life? I think you grew up in L.A. right?

BK: I grew up in L.A.

JL: Would you say that it’s your favorite city?

BK: You know, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I love how there’s always so much going on here, especially now, you have to make really tough decisions about what you’re gunna go see and what you’re gunna participate in. That’s another reason we’re committed to the mapping. It’s like, how can we help people maximize their time and see everything they can get to, and integrate art into their lives.

JL: Right, especially because L.A. is more of a driving city. It’s not like you can just walk everywhere.

BR: Commuter culture.

BK: That’s also why we’re so interested in public art projects - like how we can we help be a part of producing projects that people encounter when they’re driving? So we went to Emi Fontana on “Women in the City” and Laurie Furstenberg for the California Biennale, for the public projects, so all of our arts kind of dovetail into each other that way.

JL: How would you compare L.A.’s art culture and communication to other cities?

BK Well again, it’s so spread out and there are so many different communities that are both kind of insulated, but also engaging with each other in different ways. I kind of think of L.A. as a series of interconnected suburbs.

BR: Yeah or disciplinary, very collaborative - to architects meeting with designers or musicians or visual artists to programmers. I think it’s intertwined more; it’s not so separate. At least that’s how it feels for me.

JL: Not so separate compared to somewhere else? Like other cities?

BR: I mean the only city I can relate it to are cities that I’ve been to and I’ve worked in, mainly New York.

JL: And you don’t feel that it’s as connected there?

BR: For me it just feels more integrated here, maybe cause I’m from here.

BK: It’s interesting cause Michael Deer from USC was saying how he felt, “If something doesn’t work in L.A., it’s not going to work anywhere.”

Also, the idea about L.A. Art Weekend is to get people who live here excited about what’s going on. Why we love the idea of having Postopolis! run concurrently, is that these bloggers have amazing international audiences, so you have this interesting moment where people from all over the world are watching what’s taking place here, and hopefully people who live here are engaging in it. That’s another reason I think this (the map) is such a genius design.

BR: It’s supposed to act as sort of a virtual map, obviously the web is a map in itself. The Internet is a big map, every thing is sort of pinpointed and connected to each other. So the design of it sort of relates to the aesthetic of what a map is, and how everything is sort of connected.

JL: Right. Also I read that you wanted to work towards a more dynamic contemporary art scene in the city. So how are you trying to reach that goal?

BK: I think the city definitely already has a dynamic contemporary art scene, but it’s more about how we can relate the things that are going on to each other, and to neighborhoods and different communities, and have more people engage in the art scene. There’s a perception that the art world is a little intimidating, and we want to be a part of opening that up.

JL: You want to open art to the public, and not a select group of people who are already interested in art.

BR: Not art for artists, it should be for everyone.

Posted by Julienne Lin on 4/6/09 | tags: landscape conceptual architecture blogging

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