In 1971, the noted British architectural historian Reyner Banham wrote his seminal book on the city—Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies. In 1972, Banham returned to Los Angeles with a BBC documentary crew to film a homage to the city with which he was so enthralled. Using Baede-Kar—a fictitious audio tour guide—Banham drove across Los Angeles meeting artists, filmmakers, and diner waitresses, enthusiastically extolling the qualities of the sprawling metropolis. In so doing, Banham, the auto-flanuer, part historian and part provocateur, created a new form of critic and an alternative model for studying the city.
During the 2016/17 academic year, the School of Architecture at Woodbury University has opened up its Wedge Gallery to explore and document the city. Taking the film Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles as a point of departure, the Wedge Gallery’s cycle Baeda-Kar is reexamining the history and speculate on the future of Los Angeles through a year of exhibitions, talks, and workshops involving students, faculty, and invited contributors.
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The latest exhibition in the series, entitled A 5th Ecology, was on view at Wedge in October and November 2016. A 5th Ecology invited a variety of contributors to explore ways in which Reyner Banham’s reading of Los Angeles can inform our inquiry of the city today, revealing the under-exposed history of the sprawling metropolis in Southern California and use it as a lens through which to view the contemporary city.
The 5th Ecology exhibition was curated by Berenika Boberska & Scrap Marshall. The Baede Kar cycle is directed by Scrap Marshall. The next exhibition in the series, Research Rear View opens Tuesday, January 10, 6pm-8pm.
A 5th Ecology included work by:
Jordan Bartelt & Scrap Marshall
Sarah E Jones
Rios Clementi Hale
Ilaria Mazzoleni & Marc Frohn