Justin Fiset: Six Cinder Blocks on Top of a Wall

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Alleyways occupy a unique position in the urban landscape.  Neither entirely public nor private, conceptually they are non-places, often without names and left off of maps.  They are the negative space of cities, used to discard or store what can’t be left in front.  The spaces are largely accidental and unconsidered, literally the backs of walls, fences, and buildings.  The aesthetic quality of alleys is the product of overlapping individual interests, indifferences, and happenstances.  It is an architecture that is not designed to be seen.  Acutely mindful of this, the project does not really show empty tableaus, but it instead renders the alleyways of West Los Angeles as an animated presence.  The viewer is made aware of the gravity of these simple arrangements by the project’s use of warm colors and quiet compositions that render each layered visual as a part of the residents’ successive quotidian lives.  It is an empty space that is still full of life, and usefulness.

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