Monday, September 23, 2013

Love Me, I'm Naked: Artist Nate Page Drops The Façade


California Living, by Nate Page (select raw footage) from machine project on Vimeo.


In a neighborhood not known for having a vibrant street life, or even particularly chatty neighbors, on Thursday night, artist Nate Page brought everyone out onto the sidewalks, feeling friendly, open, and proud.

"Felt almost like Halloween!" noted one resident on the lively, street-party-like atmosphere in Balboa Highlands that began at 8pm and ran until 11.

Page, in conjunction with art collective Machine Project and as part of Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture In L.A., created an installation in which he projected video footage of the homes' residents, going about their daily lives, in 15-minute loops onto the houses' exteriors.

Through Page's piece intended, in part, to be a commentary on suburban isolation with a tad of peeping Tom voyeurism thrown in, in practice, the feeling was neither of those. By essentially stripping their houses naked and exposing the lives inside, revealing little more drama than piano playing and cake slicing, the feeling was one of gleeful nudity. Not of the exhibitionistic variety, but the kind that says, "Look at me -- I'm just like you are."

A cluster of viewers peers inside a home on Lisette Street.
Cape Cod houses feature plenty of front-facing windows from which to view (perhaps imperiously) the world without. Craftsman houses make the front porch a central asset, the better to wave hello to neighbors from.

By contrast, while open and airy inside, but with a blank and windowless exterior face, it seems clear that Eichler homes are more about bringing the outdoors in -- so that you don't really ever have to go fully outdoors -- than in communing with the neighborhood. The Eichler house even goes so far as to include an interior buffer zone between its occupants and the outside world. The negative read is that it's isolating, the positive is that this creates a heightened sense of sanctuary. But whichever camp you fell into hardly mattered on Thursday night, when California Living lit up the faces of Eichler homes and neighborhood viewers alike.

By bringing art out of the gallery and into a neighborhood as far from artsy enclaves like Venice or Silverlake as you can get, Page brought out a groundswell of community connection, with everyone dropping their façades and mingling, feeling engaged with the life around them. In a group of houses chosen, ironically, for their blank, "unfriendly" exteriors, Page's installation made for a thrilling contrast.







1 comment:

  1. I walked down there Thursday night and experienced the project... It was equally interesting to see the responses of those walking about and viewing the project as it was to see the project itself... A fun and interesting evening, and it was great to see people actually inter-reacting and socializing! It would be nice to do it again.

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