Outside these structures we drive. We park. We consume coffee from around the world with a spoiled sense of entitlement. Among these bland strip-malls we grow and change.
Could it be argued that the business parks and warehousing areas of southern California have been designed with little care for the fact that buildings are also scenery? Spiritless wastelands of asphalt and prefabricated concrete facades. Cynically utilitarian. People spend a huge part of their lives in these places and at the weekends they are like the gold rush ghost towns of the old frontier. As we trundle from one huge parking lot to the next we sometimes see a solitary figure in the distance moving to or from a family sized motor car on their way to catch up on some work while the distracting masses are at home with their distractions in gated suburbia. Is this figure panning quietly for that extra gram of federally insured gold dust? Perhaps more ideally working overtime towards that energy tech breakthrough that will ween us off hydrocarbons or the medical breakthrough that will free us from all disease? It has been said of this castrated type of architecture that “There is no drama in dystopia. It announces itself with a whimper.” The new frontier is to find the beauty amongst it. Is there any there?
Beneath the massive winding freeway connectors amid the giant concrete pillars the dirt is cleared here and there. The police questioned us while we were trundling down there. They wanted to know if we had seen one of the homeless dudes that lives in the river bank nearby and was wanted for a knife attack. “He’s officially crazy. If you see him around don’t approach him. Let us know.” They said as they left us to our business.
This subterranean shredder had written this code on his grip tape. He tested me but luckily I knew that the Kobayashi Maru is the unwinnable scenario from Star Trek’s Wrath of Khan, so he let me take his photo and no violence was necessary. The moral of the story is that it’s always worth considering whether there is any option to surreptitiously reprogram the system. If you succeed then you may even get a commendation for original thinking from the Academy. The Starfleet Academy that is, space cadet.
This space had been reclaimed by the displaced. The happy, motivated displaced. Those willing to take the chance for themselves and subtly reprogram the system.
Surveying all possibilities. The spillways have provided adventure for years now. Here you can see a nerdy looking skateboarder trying to figure out whether he could drop in on a 75 foot vertical wall into a 3 foot tall 45 degree bank with a stream running past it. We can see from his expression that the subject on the right is tempted to just go ahead and give it a try.
A short video of some friends exploring the parking lots of plastic surgeries, the pharmaceutical corporations we love and trust and thankfully a local beer manufacturer. And you know who works at the brewery? That’s right, the brew-master. The thought of a title such as “brew-master” dilutes my cynicism enough to encourage the thoughts that along side face-lifts plastic surgeries also offer reconstruction options to accident victims f.u.b.a.r. from the freeways and pharmaceutical companies don’t just make prozac, they also make viagra.