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Resources.08 Beyond Desire: Los Angeles
From the Cities and Energy Series

Beyond Desire: Los Angeles

Finding a peaceful transition from fossil to alternative energy sources is one of the greatest challenges we face today. We find ourselves in the midst of a decisive moment of transit. A transitional phase between old and new energy sources necessitates a change to other economies, cultural patterns and built structures. The American urban environment is predicated, both physically and socially, on a limitless supply of cheap oil. How will this be affected by a shift in energy systems? Are we ready to reassess our car cult? Are we prepared for post-motopia?

Consumption is ultimately powered by Desire. Nowhere is the monumentalization of Desire more palpable than in Los Angeles. As in no other place, the city’s perpetuation is dependent upon Desire. Los Angeles is the place for extreme lifestyles, parallel universes, segregated dreams and secured utopias. However, Los Angeles is also a place where alternative cultures and progressive grassroots movements seem to originate and flourish, fulfilling other kinds of dreams. The invention of alternative patterns of consumption must be based on other aspirations and longings. What does Los Angeles look like Beyond Desire?
resources08_prospect Further course info here

The Response

The Fifth Ecology explored the infamous L.A. River as a new public space based on immaterial consumption, bridging the east and west of L.A. The concept of spectacular morality, that is a morality put on show, took centre stage in the city where the public realm is a theatre for it’s vibrant citizens. In the spectacular city the concert outplays recorded music, the after-party overshadows the show, and the entire event is valued by the stories that it emits. Ownership of object and place are only worth the experience that results from them. The abundance of resources Los Angeles enjoys – from sunshine to its ethnic diversity – all are seen as essential components in the reformulation of a post-material urban experience.

The Spectacular City, the strategy of Resources.08 for a post-material Los Angeles, is composed of events and pieces of the city fabric that exist parallel to and independent of one another all offering a non-material form of spectacularity. The plethora of lifestyles and grassroots movements that are the cultural norm here and essential to an understanding of Los Angeles’ uniqueness creates a credible breeding ground for this to occur. Could it take place in that most commercial of American urban inventions, The Strip, and thereby transform it into a space for post-material consumption? Can a new space be created, one sublime in scale and spectacular in content? This is our Fifth Ecology springing forth from the L.A. River, that once united those familiar landscapes – the mountains and the beach.
Download catalogue for final project:
The Fifth Ecology, Los Angeles Beyond Desire.
More exhibition images/stories/mejanarc here.