Los Angeles at Night

LA at Night No. 1 is one in a series of eight films originally created for an installation at Le Bon Marché in Paris, France August 27-October 11th, 2009.

All the films were shot on HD in Los Angeles in the dead of night. The footage includes images of my Underwater Ballet billboards, a public art project shown in Los Angeles in April-May 2009, which consisted of 86 digital billboards within the LA landscape. These are inter-cut with time-lapse shots of freeways and blown out car headlights, which were layered to create a kaleidoscopic, ‘jeweled’ effect.

Together the images form a meditation on the nighttime landscape of Los Angeles; a sky lit by artificial lights beaming from advertisements and car culture. The soundtrack contains no traffic noises at all; rather it follows a meditation, using breath, wind, a low hum, and bells.

Five films from the series were shown in the Paris installation inside a specially created cube structure. The viewer enters and each of the four walls and the ceiling play individual films simultaneously in synchronization. Though each film contains different images, at moments they come together, each film shifting into jeweled lights or time lapse. At the musical crescendo, all five films come together on a time-lapse image of a fountain on the intersection of Wilshire & Santa Monica Boulevard.

Though my intention was for the viewer to feel disoriented, in the middle of night-time traffic in Los Angeles, I find the piece strangely calming. There is an absence of humanity this late at night in LA, and one can be alone with the city, breathing in the lights and the music of the streets.