Installed at Materials & Applications until January 8, The Kid Gets Out of the Picture is a contemporary update on the aesthetic principles of early 19th century English landscape architecture and its catalog of objects (follys, ha-has, viewpoints) that reproduced the pictorial effects of landscape painting within real space. Guest curated by Los Angeles Design Group, the project is a collaborative installation by LADG, First Office, Laurel Broughton/Andrew Kovacs, and Hirsuta. The LA Forum spoke to Los Angeles Design Group about the “manner of a picture” in the post-digital age.
We were initially drawn to the nouns used by the authors of the English picturesque because to contemporary ears they are all so implausible as words that would have any place in a technical discipline. Over time they’ve fallen into a colloquial imprecision. It’s surreal to read passages where authors argue over the minutiae of words like clump, lump, mass, group, and belt.
When we chose to build these nouns, we found the perfect combination of a highly regulated framework in which to design, but also running room to invent inside of this structure. Each of these terms has a remarkable relationship to contemporary architecture. They all seem to offer, from a great distance, possibilities for what architecture could be in this newly “post-digital” period.
This project is part of a series we have done using the English Picturesque as a point of departure. In William Gilpin’s formulation, the picturesque is a form of beauty “in the manner of a picture,” and it seems to us this is a good way to think about some of the preoccupations of contemporary architecture: we (if it’s possible to generalize about the state of our architectural generation) build the real so that it can be photographed and disseminated in the form of pictures. In a certain sense the picture is more important than the actuality of the building.
The title is a nod to the Robert Evans film “The Kid Stays in the Picture.” We want to think about ways of building that might complicate, or resist an easy relationship between architecture and its pictures. To the extent that contemporary architecture is “in the picture,” we want to think about what it would mean to “get out.” For us this means shifting attention to how buildings are organized and how they impact the forms of life that happen around and in them.