TOLERANCE MEMORIAL: COMMEMORATING THE L.A. RIOTS, Los Angeles, CA
On April 29, 1992, the acquittal of four white police officers who had been captured on videotape beating black motorist Rodney King sparked a week of violence resulting in 53 deaths, 2,000 arrests, and $1 billion in property damage. During the trials, shopkeepers across the country boarded up their storefronts at key verdict dates, fearing vandalism and looting. In most cities, violence never came, but the plywood fortifications constructed a commercial phalanx that signified widespread paranoia.
This proposal is a hypothetical construction intended to recall social reactions to the L.A. Riots. The location is in South Central Los Angeles, at the intersection where the random attack on truck driver Reginald Denny occurred. Built from conventional aluminum-and-glass storefront sections, wood framing members and standard 4X8 sheets of plywood, the structure co-opts the everyday language of streets, shops, and temporary fabrications. As an enclosed boardwalk, it supersedes the space and function of the sidewalk. Inside, pedestrians are protected but also shut off from the social life of the street, so their relationship with the public is tenuous.
The material details play with the multiple meanings of tolerance as both a sociopolitical condition and a construction specification. The joists under the walkway penetrate the glass screens through holes sized to match the joist section exactly. There is no tolerance. Settling and movement naturally would cause friction between the materials and structure. Like Duchamp's "Large Glass," which cracked in its packing crate, the final form and condition are determined arbitrarily, through random use.
PRESS: National Building Museum exhibit, CRIT (AIAS journal)