Jessica Kim: Form and Landscape

Greetings from Los Angeles!  My “Six Shooter” will focus on Form and Landscape: Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Basin, 1940-1990, a digital exhibit organized in 2014 as part of Pacific Standard Time Presents, a Getty Research Institute initiative designed to showcase Southern California’s impact on modern architecture and urban forms.  A corporate photography archive, particularly of a utility company, might at first sound incredibly mundane.  However, the Southern California Edison photo archive, from which this exhibit drew, is arguably the most vast and compelling visual narrative of explosive metropolitan growth in Los Angeles.

Form and Landscape was not the first digital exhibit of its type and it certainly will not be the last.  The project creators and curators, however, believe that the exhibit was remarkable for a number of reasons, almost all related to scope and scale.  The archive from which we drew contains an astounding 70,000 images.  These images were produced over almost a century (late 1880s to 1970s).  The images capture landscapes from across California and beyond, from home kitchens to the Hoover Dam.  The project involved eighteen curators and the exhibit included over 500 images.  Themes and images range from the small and intimate (text and domesticity) to the expansive and vast (landscape and technology).  And finally, we welcomed far more virtual visitors than we will ever have readers of our books or articles: 60,000 at last count.

The exhibit lives here: http://pstp-edison.com/

And you can access the archive here: http://cdm16003.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p16003coll2

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