Saturday, October 06, 2007

A bit of LA art...

When I visit the LA civic center Federal Building, I always park across the street at the Los Angeles Mall, a lonely, isolated shopping center from the early 1970s.

During my numerous visits, I've noticed the odd art sculpture at the street-level of the mall. I've never stopped to examine the structure...only rushed past it to get to a meeting or grab a quick bite in the sad food court.

But on this visit, I circled the structure, and tried to figure its purpose. There is no explanation of its odd concrete and glass form...just a small metal plaque at its base with the name "Triforium".

So, I looked up an article on the Triforium, and its creator Joseph Young. The sculpture was dedicated in 1975, and is noted as "the world's first public sculpture to integrate light and sound by use of a computer". It is also widely ridiculed for its nearly $1 million price-tag, its frequent technical failures, and its leaking pools...which have been turned into flower beds (the lavender in my photo above). Its planned lasers and motion sensors were never realized due to cost overruns.

Still, this quirky feature of the mall is by far its most interesting. Its a reminder of the vision of a lively after-hours Civic Center, which has become overrun by cheap stores and vagrancy.

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