In the gallery: Under Spring
PPS performative: Tia Juana Day
Artists must create on the same scale that society has the capacity to destroy.”1
Lauren Bon operates at the intersection of art and philanthropy to identify sustainable paradigms of social change. Utilizing a toolbox that includes ‘wonder’, ‘clean-up’, and ‘perseverance’ she takes a systemic approach to transformation that includes expansive focus on public space.
In May 2006 Bon concluded Not A Cornfield (NAC) – an artwork in the form of a field of corn that transformed 32-acres of post-industrial LA and transitioned it to its next phase of life as the Los Angeles State Historic Park. The artist then rented a warehouse adjacent to the Park, only to find that it backed on to yet another desolated space.
Storied ‘shooting galleries’, the arches of the Spring Street Bridge provided homeless users with occasional cover. Having helped the people they found there to more habitable locations, Bon and her team proceeded to clean and electrify the area now know as Under Spring. Then, while planting edible gardens and engaging the City to ensure legal compliance, they invited more general public use.
In so doing, Bon encountered an interesting public space anomaly. For, to enable such public use, the arches had to take an “Alley Vacation”: a legal process by which a dedicated public right-of-way is deemed unnecessary and a private applicant is permitted to maintain and administer the site.
While the concrete arches under the Spring Street Bridge remain immutable, under the care of Bon and her Metabolic Studio team the space Under Springis fluid and lively. Massive tanks have been installed to catch and store rainwater runoff from the warehouse roof; algae experiments grow in mobile ponds; and people stop by to rest, chat, and enjoy such experiences as, among many others since 2006: square dancing, a toddler’s birthday party, Day of the Dead celebrations, art installations, a puppet cabaret, regular Public Salons and breakfast discussions.
Ever since I learned there was a place dedicated to all the Aunt ‘Juana’s’ of the world, I felt a warm and happy place in my heart for this special border town.” 2
Tia Juana Day
For Performing Public Space Lauren Bon created Tia Juana Day for Saturday March 20. As the artist describes:
“He leaps off a cliff to avoid certain peril and, clinging by the root of a tree, he looks below to see a predator awaiting his certain fall. A wild strawberry is growing nearby. Picking it, he savors its sweetness. The Tia Juana Day celebration at Casa Del Tunel is the wild strawberry that hangs between the myriad complexities that make up the border.“3
Visit the Not A Cornfield website
Visit the Metabolic Studio website
Watch a KCET interview with Lauren Bon
1: Neon by Lauren Bon at the Metabolic Studio. 2: Email correspondence with Owen Driggs, January 30, 2010. 3: ibid.
Saturday March 20th, 2010 4:30 p.m.
Lauren Bon: Tia Juana Day
“Tia Juana Day celebrates a special friend in your parents’ generation, someone in whom you confide. Everyone is invited to a game of musical chairs in which the chairs represent the border wall between Mexico and the US. Play goes on until all the chairs are eliminated. A photo booth will take portraits of each person and their “tia” or aunt on La Casa del Tunél’s rooftop and secrets will be shared (but not in a public way.)”
LOCATION: La Casa del Tunél