Port of Long Beach, 2011, Elleni Sclavenitis

Industrial Los Angeles

2010-2013, web-based project, industriallosangeles.org

LOS ANGELES – that urban area that ends abruptly at the Pacific in the West and dissipates into the desert in the East – is a city of erasure and transformations, of leveling and layering. Once a capital of aerospace, automobile and petrochemical production, Greater Los Angeles is now a series of company towns with no company, its manufacturing plants replaced by shopping malls and housing developments. Here, history is quickly forgotten in favor of the new, the city constantly reforged to serve changing political, social and economic impulses. With this forgetting, the effects of industrialization and deindustrialization are obscured, creating a landscape that eludes interpretation.

Industrial Los Angeles is a web-based documentary that attempts to break down this resistance to interpretation by uncovering those impulses that have formed and continue to impact the city. Incorporating photography, writing and historical documents, this project mines the built environment for signs of industrial production, both past and present. Through this excavation, a hidden city is revealed, its ruins razed, but its presence still lingering: as Industrial Los Angeles materializes, history becomes untethered from the past, its imprint now visible in the landscape, giving new meaning to what we see.