Liquid Screen

The best view is from the escalators.

The best view of the S. Mark Taper Foundation Digital Commons video wall is from the escalators, just as you dip below Therman Statom’s giant chandeliers, which dominate the three-tiered atrium of the Central Library’s Tom Bradley Wing. The trio of glassworks evoke Dalí, incorporating oversized bric-a-brac such as an hourglass and a toppled chess piece. Augmenting Norman Pfeiffer’s pomo hall, they scream 1993.

By contrast, the twenty-eight-foot-long, state of the art video wall pulses with the present. Original commissions by artists and filmmakers cycle out seasonally; the current crop plays up LA iconography. Deceased mountain lion P-22 stalks the stacks in Alice Bucknell’s The Alluvials (Chapter 1: California pilled). The heartsick lovers of Yuge Zhou’s Love Letters (Summer) pace along the meager Los Angeles River. With Cuboid Vortex City, Kristen Roos turns the focus back onto the library itself, whose memorable massing reflects jaggedly like a Ziggurat through an algorithmic game of infinite replication and division. As the montage looped, my eyes kept returning to a black rectangle on the screen: dead LEDs.

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