Remember Me

Elements of plexiglas, booklet, 2 x 2 m, 2005

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© Detail view Remember Me

The city was here before the freeway system, no doubt, but it now

looks as though the metropolis has actually been built around this

arterial network.
(Jean Baudrillard, America, 1986)

The California Department of Transportation built its regional headquarters at the source of the Los Angeles freeway system. The building at 100 South Main Street lies on the corner of Main Street and 1st Street, with the one dividing its North from its South part and the other running East and West. “100” in vast lettering marks the main entrance to the office block, designed by Morphosis, which lies at the exact starting point of the organisational system for a city that does not have a clearly recognisable centre. Artistic interventions by Renée Green and Keith Sonnier that relate to the automobile culture additionally condense the symbolical content.,rememberme_0385.jpg=503

© Exhibition view BLANK – Urbane Zwischenräume, Kunstverein Medienturm, Graz, 2005.

Photo: Dariusz Kowalski

They allude to the importance of the freeway network for the organisation of everyday life in a metropolis whose urban structure is heavily influenced by two essential factors: the parcelling in grand style during the property speculation that allowed Los Angeles to grow from a small town to a major city in the 19th century, and an automobile boom that was early to establish itself from the 1920s and impacted on urban development and orientation systems that were intended to meet the requirements of private motorised traffic.

During her stay on a MAK-Schindler stipend Annja Krautgasser explored the network of freeways in Los Angeles that has developed like a system of coordinates. Her analytical approach led her to find a method to improve her own orientation in the urban conglomeration as well as rendering an alternative organisational system visible. The installation Remember Me consists of a relief-like wall sculpture of white Perspex and a booklet positioned on a shelf with photocopies from the several centimetre thick ring-bound street map, on which coloured adhesive dots and felt-pen lines have been used to mark and trace various features.,rememberme_5608.jpg=250,rememberme_5606.jpg=250

© Detail Booklet, Remember Me, 2005

In the relief, comprised of numerous individual pieces put together like a jigsaw puzzle, the grid of traffic arteries running North to South, drawn in steps of a thousand, can be read at the interfaces between the individual parts while the roads running between them are depicted in the form of gently etched arteries. The result is an unusual way of looking at the whole city and its structure. It is not the orthogonal road grid in the individual pages of the road atlas, and generally regarded as typical, that is primarily evident here. Instead—based on painstaking groundwork—the abstracted representation reveals and emphasises more strongly the formation of settlements and historical developments that arose prior to the motorisation, as well as topographical features like large parks and splintered hilly areas. With this, Annja Krautgasser creates a system of organisation of its own that employs a cool distanced approach and the reduction of information to allow the historical context to be rediscovered.

(Franziska Leeb)

Exhibitions: • BLANK - Urbane Zwischenräume, Kunstverein Medienturm, Graz, A 2005

No: 05-003

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