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Rendered vignette of an image projected on the theater screen with a daner in front.
Hideyo Kameda
Student Work M.Arch

Los Angeles Portraits

403 Research Studio
2020

Today, there is an urgency to address our cities’ cultural messiness. This research studio explores Los Angeles’ lush diversity by uncovering its multiple layers of resolution. We speculate – through interactive storytelling – on the near future of cultural space working with machine aesthetics, photogrammetry, and cinematographic techniques.

Los Angeles is an exceedingly complex city that thrives through its diversity. We researched its various neighborhoods and learned from their current states by using today’s representational platforms. Research becomes a search where we scroll through infinite TikTok videos, Instagram Posts, YouTube channels live-streams, and other interfaces where LA’s identities are portrayed and celebrated for all their glorious messiness. Where discussions around architectural styles and genres turn into digital material filters and augmented reality add-ons. Where aesthetics is bound to cultural identities, and neighborhood borders’ politics. Where economic and social systems have direct physical impacts manifested through aesthetics.

In our conversations, we question the expectations of architectural research, the standardization of drawings’ representation, and rigid historical canons. Each designer has developed their workflow, language, and position associated with their specific neighborhood. Starting from two-dimensional images using convolutional neural networks, making our way to three-dimensional models of a cabinet of curiosities, we acutely address the realms of projective geometry juggling between 2D and 3D, of digital crafts and technical expertise, of Bavarian rococo redefining the frame, and finally the realm of new media leading to a fully-fledged critical project.

Los Angeles Portraits is an invitation to open a discussion on spaces’ identities through various means of searching and registering them. We speculate through ways of seeing on possible stories of Los Angeles Portraits looking at Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive, the UCLA Campus, Downtown’s Chinatown, Olvera Street, and Broadway, Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, the Grove’s Original Farmers Market, Westwood’s village, and even expanding our search to Old Pasadena and San Juan Capistrano.

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