Natural Wifi: Stones and Palm Trees

Investigating the evolving techno-landscape of Los Angeles, the two-part work shows a stone and a palm tree, both telling us about the role Nature plays in architecture at the moment of its loss or abandonment.

If the natural stone has been a melancholic object of architecture throughout the history of modernism – just to name Niemeyer’s Casa de Canoas in Rio de Janeiro –, today, it has turned into its monument. Not just a find, but a model the stone is now being mimicked, reproduced to cross material and aesthetic boundaries, for an architecture of Nature.
The video follows a stone through all medial aggregate states until it is reified as a plastic stool within the interior landscape of the exhibition space and to order on eBay. At the same time, an avatar tells us about possibilities and dangers of mimicry: when a geometer moth is provoking cannibalism because it is taken for a real leaf.

The palm tree, as Aldo Rossi mentioned earlier, is found to be a symbol, or a memory of a house. It shows Nature as a construct that manifests ideal architecture by constituting an ideal (exterior or interior) context. For the well-tempered environment of the modernist city it might be more important than any technological device and conditioning function.
The video installation shows L.A.’s long legged palm tree as a wish image, a super-motive that is rather an expression and not so much a stealth feature of (Internet) infrastructure.

Image: Installation view at Art Center Los Angeles, photo: Erika Barbosa


Image: detail of installation



Image: Installation view, stone stool on coasters



Image: installation view


Image: deatil of the installation


Image: Installation view at Art Center Los Angeles


Research project and exhibition at Art Center Los Angeles
September 13 – November 30, 2015
Team: Nick Meehan, Selwa Sweidan, Erika Katrina Barbosa, Zhihan Ying
Exhibition Now, There: Scenes from the Post-Geographic City (Winner of Bronze Dragon Award)
curated by Mimi Zeiger and Tim Durfee
Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture
December 4th, 2015 — March 3,  2015