There Are No Lakes in Los Angeles

There Are No Lakes in Los Angeles, 2014, Video and Postcards

There Are No Lakes in Los Angeles     postcard.jpg

During a stay with a friend from Minnesota in Los Angeles, I was taken to Echo Park for a picnic with a few of their friends. During our time at the park I kept staring out at the large water fountain that sits in the center of the lake, which only purpose seems to be to project water awkwardly into the sky as small paddle boats float around it. I couldn’t help but wonder what actually made this a “lake,” according to Los Angeles standards?

In reaction to this question I developed a project called There Are No Lakes in Los Angeles. I was specifically driven by the relationship that the Los Angeles Lakers have to my former home of Minneapolis where the team originates from––the “land of 10,000 lakes”. When the team moved to Los Angeles in 1960, they choose to keep its previous team name and just change the city. This act of leaving the name Lakers constantly recalls its regional displacement from a place of aquatic abundance, to a place where there are no actual lakes. In an attempt to understand the relationship that bodies of water do have to Los Angeles, I decided to visit as many of these sites as I could within one day. I purchased a Lakers hat and a Kobe Bryant jersey at a Sports Authority near my first site, Lake Balboa. I wore this hat and jersey while visiting six public bodies of water within the county and filmed myself looking out into the landscapes surrounding them.

The piece aimed to reflect upon the superimposed structures of this landscape, and to analyze the relationship that geography and colonization play in relation to place identities. Unintentionally, the performance took place during the height of the drought in California, so the water levels were dramatically lower than normal. In a rebuttal to this, I signed the hat and jersey and posted them on eBay with a project description and an agreement that the proceeds from the purchase would go to the California Drought and Disaster Relief Organization. To this day the hat and jersey have not sold, and currently are sitting in my studio collecting dust.

*The images from this project are currently in the process of being produced as custom postcards.

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