Posts by Evan Mather

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Making L.A.: Embrace the Lake Tour: “Join us on Sunday, October 23rd as we come together with Silver Lake Forward for a series of walks around the reservoir to celebrate this important community resource. The first tour at 10:00am will focus on the future of Silver Lake, the second tour at 1:00pm will focus on the history, of which there is plenty. Each tour will also serve as an opportunity to discuss the construction currently underway, as well as to think about the tremendous potential to revitalize one of Los Angeles’s most important public spaces.”
When: Sunday, October 23, 2016, 10am-2pm
Where: Silver Lake Recreation Center, 1850 West Silver Lake Drive, Los Angeles, 90026

ASLA Annual Meeting & Expo: A Celebration of Place: New Orleans“Join the largest gathering of landscape architecture professionals and students in the world to gain perspective and establish new connections within the profession … 120 education sessions, 15 field sessions, 4 workshops, and 2 general sessions will be offered throughout the meeting … ASLA 2016 President Chad D. Danos, FASLA, explains how landscape architects create a celebration of place.”
When: Friday, October 21 – Monday, October 24, 2016
Where: New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, 900 Convention Center Blvd, New Orleans, LA, 70130

WestEdge Design Fair: “WestEdge is a three-day event that offers the best in modern design, all in an environment designed to engage, entertain and inspire. The fair offers the opportunity to shop from premium home furnishings brands-many new to the West Coast and meet the designers behind thousands of inspiring products. In addition, attendees gain insight from leading names in the design industry with a full series of educational programs and special events.”
When: Thursday, November 3 – Sunday, November 6, 2016
Where: Barker Hanger, 3021 Airport Avenue, #203, Santa Monica, 90405

Lounge-aholics: The Social Life of Furniture in L.A.’s New Public Spaces: “As Los Angeles becomes more multi-modal and pedestrian-oriented, its neighborhoods are seeing a boom in interest for new parks, civic, and commercial spaces at various urban scales. Across the region, from Tongva Park in Santa Monica to FaB Park, Grand Park, and Pershing Square downtown, exciting and new public spaces are taking shape in the mode of a new and diverse urban era. Hear from L.A.’s leading civic and design leaders about the ways these new urban spaces are contributing to a more vibrant city culture and what they see for the future of public space in L.A.”
When: Friday, November 4, 2016, 4pm-5pm
Where: Barker Hanger, 3021 Airport Avenue, #203, Santa Monica, 90405

Creating Seed BombsMake your own native seed bomb at Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden in Claremont. This botanical garden has one of the largest collection of pressed foliage and flowers in the world, and it has the largest collection of seeds, if anything were to happen to our native resources.
When: Saturday, December 3, 2016, 10 – 11am
Where: Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden, 1500 N College Ave, Claremont, CA, 91711

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In 2013, I completed the feature film From Sea To Shining Sea – a contemporary portrait of the United States of America experienced via a cross-county time-lapse video and audio collage. This incredible landscape diversity – through twenty-two eco-regions, from the Atlantic, over the Rockies, and to the Pacific – is united by a common visual element: the Interstate Highway System.

By watching the film, one essentially takes the journey itself, and gains a greater appreciation for the sheer beauty of the American landscape. My co-pilot on the journey was the Australian journalist Matthew Clayfield (“The Caucasian Semi-Circle: A Journey Along Russia’s Exposed Nerve”), who documented the filming in his Kindle single “Hauling Ass”.

While shooting the film, Matt and I visited many places along the interstate that were oriented exclusively toward serving those making the same journey. These towns and truck stops such as Beckley, West Virginia, Haubstadt, Indiana, and Radiator Springs, Utah are places to stop to get gas, grab food, take a shower, etc. These towns exist only within the context of driving along the interstate, and are virtually unknown within the greater day-to-day American experience. These places represent a cultural landscape – an ecology – that only exists because of the framework of the interstate.

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The Anthropocene is a proposed term for the present geological epoch during which humanity has begun to have a significant impact on the environment. I believe the United States Interstate Highway System – due to its impacts on geology, habitat, and microclimate – is clearly an example of the Anthropocene.

This month, the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) will host the 2016 International Festival of Landscape Architecture in Canberra. Part of the program is a short film competition about the Anthropocene. I submitted a video for consideration revolving around a theory that the Interstate is a cultural ecology and a natural evolution of an ancient biomigratory ecology – a physical manifestation of the Anthropocene. The piece has been shortlisted and will screen during the anthropoScene event during the festival.

In my video Sic Erat Scriptum – as personified by this character of instructor (preacher?) Melvin McNally – the development of the interstate highway can be traced back to its precursors: the United States Numbered Highway System followed the routes of the railroads, which in turn were built over the routes of the pioneer wagon trails that originally followed the paths established by of Native American footpaths made over generations following the migratory paths of buffalo and big game – and presumptuously – back to the era of the dinosaurs, where the clusters within the fossil record of these thunder lizards correlates with the towns along the interstate.

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So, the next time you are driving across the country playing the license plate game, say a little prayer of thanks to the dinosaurs who made this all possible.

2016-09-26

What do you see when you read this island?

Flying home earlier this year, having drank too many Frescae, I was staring out the window when an island came into view. It was a bright and clear summer day and the island was well-framed in the water. What is this place? As an ardent cartogrivore, I did not recognize it.

With a few minutes until landing, I took out my iPhone and as an exercise in landscape interpretation and reading land use patterns, I began to scan it for clues: fields, roads, some boat traffic, the alignment of the roads, the location of the structures, an air strip, a dock …?

What do you see when you read this island?

Send me – via email or in the comments below – your thoughts, theories, and interpretations. The country or continent I was flying over is not important (Hint: I am not flying over the USA.). I am going to gather the responses and incorporate them in a video – tentatively titled How To Read An Island – and share the results later this fall.

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9th Annual CANstruction Orange County Design/Build Competition
“CANstruction Orange County combines the fun of a design/build competition with an ingenious way to help feed hungry people. Local prominent architectural, engineering, planning, and design firms, and students mentored by these professionals, create phenomenal structures built entirely out of canned food. The structures go on view to the public at South Coast Plaza and ARTIC throughout the month of September in conjunction with the Festival of Children”
When: September 22, 2016, 6:00 – 8:30pm
Where: 16 Structures Will Be on View September 3-25 across Orange County; locations information here. Awards show at PIRCH – South Coast Collection, 3303 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

2016 International Festival of Landscape Architecture: Not in My Backyard
“Canberra is one of the very few, fully planned cities in the world. The 2016 International Festival of Landscape Architecture: Not In My Backyard will be hosted in Canberra from 27-30 October and aims to connect the public with landscape architects. With over thirty events developed by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) and Festival Creative Director, Richard Weller (USA), the four-day program will include a Conference, National Landscape Architecture Awards, Festival Party and a host of public and industry tours, exhibitions, city activations, screenings and talks.”
When: October 27-30, 2016
Where: TBD, Canberra, Australia

Silver Lake Reservoir Complex Community Meeting
From the office of City of Los Angeles Councilmember David Ryu (District 4): “Please join my office and Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell of the 13th Council District in conjunction with LADWP for a community meeting regarding the Silver Lake Reservoir Complex. LADWP will provide a reservoir construction update, discuss restoring water to the reservoir and improvement options with the community. For more info on the project, click here.”
When: Tuesday, September 20, 2016, 6:30-8:30pm
Where: John Marshall High School Auditorium, 3939 Tracey Street, Los Angeles

Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life
“The Broad’s first special exhibition is a comprehensive survey of the work of artist Cindy Sherman. Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life is the first major museum show of Sherman’s work in Los Angeles in nearly 20 years, and the exhibition fills The Broad’s first-floor galleries with 120 works drawn primarily from the Broad collection with key loans from other institutions … Most well-known for photographs that feature the artist as her own model playing out media-influenced female stereotypes in a range of personas, environments, and guises, Sherman shoots alone in her studio, serving as director, photographer, make-up artist, hairstylist, and subject. Her decades-long performative practice has produced many of contemporary art’s most iconic and influential images.”
When: Through Sunday, October 2, 2016
Where: The Broad, 221 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles

Landscape Architecture as Necessity Conference
“As climate change rapidly takes its place at the forefront of contemporary global challenges, landscape architecture is becoming an ever more urgent necessity. Landscape architecture is uniquely able to synthesize ecological systems, scientific data, engineering methods, social practices, and cultural values, integrating them into the design of the built environment. At the same time, its creative capacities, and its visual and spatial vocabularies contribute to shaping questions and formulating novel approaches in more exclusively scientific or data-driven fields. This three-day conference intends to promote intensive debate by bringing together complementary and contrasting positions that have recently arisen around the politically charged issue of global climate change. ”
When: September 22-24, 2016
Where: University of Southern California, School of Architecture, Los Angeles