2016-17 Exhibition Series, Wedge Gallery, School of Architecture, Woodbury University
Drive-in Dive-in - NOW OPEN
Drive-in, Dive-in explores the image of Los Angeles through a fragmented archetype of American architecture: the drive-in movie theatre. For a city constructed of dreams and aspirations—a city of images—the drive-in speaks explicitly of both change and continuity.
A victim of the forces of real estate speculation and technology, the drive-in appears as a nostalgic fragment of a lost time and place. Yet, the drive-in, as part car, part living room, reminds us of the importance of film and storytelling in American culture. This exposes the critical yet often unconscious role the moving picture has played in how we read and think about the city. Crucially, it also suggests that there stills exists the potential for a domestic, and even intimate and personal, space within the shifting surfaces of the City Of Angeles.
Banham's Los Angeles A Film Essay by Dr. Pasquale Iannone
In his 2003 essay film Los Angeles Plays Itself, Thom Andersen provides an extensive overview of the myriad ways in which LA has been represented on film. ‘The directors who did the most to make Los Angeles a character in the movies and then a subject, were outsiders’ Andersen tells us, ‘They weren’t interested in what made Los Angeles like a city, they were interested in what made Los Angeles unlike the cities they knew.’ Andersen goes on to differentiate between what he calls ‘low’ and ‘high tourist’ filmmakers - the ‘low’ were those who held a dim view of the city (Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen) while the ‘high’ were attracted by it (Maya Deren, Andy Warhol, Roger Corman).
Although he was an esteemed architecture critic rather than a film director, Norwich-born Reyner Banham (1922 – 1988) was proudly in the latter camp, as outlined in his influential book Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies (1971) and subsequent BBC documentary Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles (Julian Cooper, 1972). In the documentary, Banham drives around LA assisted by an imaginary GPS guide called Baeda-Kar. He reflects on the city’s varied architecture and meets up with some of its residents to get a sense of its unique appeal.
To compliment this very personal, documentary vision of Los Angeles, this audiovisual essay brings together images and sounds from fiction films made around the time Banham was carrying out his investigations. I draw on work by filmmakers who, like Banham, were outsiders, whether from other parts of the US (Robert Altman, John Cassavetes, Jonathan Kaplan, Ivan Dixon) or Europe (Michelangelo Antonioni, Agnès Varda, Jacques Deray). The attitude of these filmmakers toward LA, whilst by no means uncritical, was generally one of fascination, closely mirroring that of Banham. I use voiceover and musical extracts from the BBC documentary to both comment upon the images and to regulate the piece’s overall rhythm.
Filmography (in order of appearance)
Truck Turner (Jonathan Kaplan, 1974)
The Long Goodbye (Robert Altman, 1973)
Documenteur (Agnès Varda, 1981)
Trouble Man (Ivan Dixon, 1972)
The Outside Man (Jacques Deray, 1972)
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (John Cassavetes, 1976)
Zabriskie Point (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1970)
Lions Love (…and Lies)(Agnès Varda, 1969)
Mur Murs (Agnès Varda, 1981)
Dr. Pasquale Iannone is a Lecturer in Film and Music at the University of Edinburgh. He regularly contributes to Sight & Sound and BBC Radio. His audiovisual essays have appeared on Fandor, MUBI, CineTransit and in NECSUS European Journal of Film Studies. He is also on the editorial board of [in]Transition: Journal of Videographic Film and Moving Image Studies.
Banham's Los Angeles
A 5th Ecology
A 5th Ecology invites a variety of contributors to explore ways in which Reyner Banham’s reading of Los Angeles in the documentary film Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles can inform our inquiry of the city today.
Aiming to present a variety of perspectives and individual readings of Los Angeles, we invite participants—designers, educators, authors and critics—to contribute either an image, a drawing, text, mixed media, or an artifact that represents Los Angeles in an alternative manner. As a collection, A 5th Ecology intends to question the history, contemporary condition, and potential future of Los Angeles.
Research Rear View
This exhibition presents a selection of research folios culled from seminar projects organized along four primary topics: The Rural Fantastic!, Liminal Forms, Hasard Objectif: Objective, and Calibrating Viscosity. Woodbury faculty Berenika Boberska, Mark Ericson, Paulette Singley, and Joshua G. Stein's directed research seminars will feed into student degree projects in the spring semester.