Nature vs Real Estate, or Los Angeles’ Folly, by Nicholas Lowie – February 1993
           
           
   
 
 
 
 
       
         
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Every yard is a Sod Frontier. “Land without population is a wilderness, and population without land is a mob.” The fence-object allows nature to become the land subject.

The commodification of nature is a product and producer of complacency. Sooner or later you end up lured into a private, controlled, owned, organized, secured distance-the shelter of an autocratic expansionist. It is the commodification not of Natural security but of natural security, the security of a nature long since commodified. This complacency is a disguise-capital in a natural disguise (Real Estate). Disguised as a mediated landscape, middle landscape, middle America. In this hermetic landscape, an industrialized and marketed object must remain an object, untouched by process, but rooted in the McDonald’s/GOP approach to the land. Ensure that your grass is grass and that it’s always greener, for you’re the only one with the grass. Here yardening is parallel to growing wheat and picking Presidents.

Go West young man! Run! Get your already portioned lot. Before the next guy gets his (yours? they’re the same.) This is autocratic natural destiny.

Getting back to, getting nature is a new primitive rite. American natural is freedom, spontaneity, and authenticity – the ability to visit and to buy nature. A return to nature requires a return to open space, a space that has not acquired the status of a commodity. An impossibility if one believes in the grid.

Jefferson’s grid ordered nature and ended its civilizing geometrical ordering-the grid is infinite, the U.S. is infinite, the U.S. commodified the world. The grid homogenizes. Commodification prioritizes. The grid promotes Culture, promotes society, consumer society. The grid is the birth of the simulated object. The Sod Grid Frontier is artificial simulated life-the city grows naturally.

The role of man in nature is historically (now) a dominatrix relationship and man romantically constructs his role as such. The relationship between man and nature is nested in literary man vs. literal nature. The literary role suggests a Utopia. Utopia in its etymological sense as a no space, with no representations of that space. No representations mean no images, with no images the correlate subject is dead. A literary man is a man that has a changing persona, a transformative relationship with a singular nature. Nature’s only cultural change is that it can’t be had and then it can. Once it’s been had, it remains the same-a natural thing and that’s that. It’s only what man does to it, with it, for it, that makes the difference between to have and have not.

The re-presentation of nature by culture is Los Angeles’ folly. The “re” is the index of the agrarian landscape, the signifier of doing Nature, the representation of the idea of the natural. The renatured presentation is the artificing of truth. There is a masking/forgetting of Nature that allows Re(N/n)ature to be cultured. The re-member, the “authenticity,” is dependent upon the forgetting of the genuine. Nature=artifice. The aesthetic is the key to an understanding of natural relations. The aesthetic can be the name, the form, or the act. But can the aesthetic be pinpointed? Is it a moment in time, or does the emotive need time, time to grow, the growth process? Controlling the aesthetic also requires a forgetting, but of the new original-the commodity. Does controlling the aesthetic show the difference (its natural implications), or does it merely require a remembering of the commodity? Is the aesthetic the key to an understanding of natural relations, or is the aesthetic nature’s natural enemy?

Nature is to do. The function of Nature is to exist, to keep existing. It is only a process. Your Nature is I desire, to be, the subject, natural. This is only the process of human N/nature. The function of your N/nature is to provide an aesthetic framework for commodifying your natural (Natural) impulses. Natural is to become, the predicate of desire. The natural is a description of nature through Nature. To identify your position in this productive re-cycle is to implement the process. Natural culture is to be. The Nature of culture is to know. Our cultural nature is to have. Multiculturalism is to have to be to know. Multinaturalism is to desire to do to become.

Nicholas Lowie, an architect and graphic designer, received an M.Arch from SCI-Arc.

Back to February 1993 Newsletter