Islands of LA is an evolving study and engagement with the history, desire and potential for meaningful connection in urban public space. This ideal is pursued by exploring the seemingly absurd use of traffic islands as terrains for peaceable assembly and speech among friends and strangers that is both creative and critically minded. This use is not unprecedented: a rigorous site analysis reveals a global history of the use of traffic islands for gathering and expression, in spite of the difficulties of the space. Extending this tradition through events, interactive maps, and an archive of stories, Islands of LA invites us to explore the desire, the fear, and the possibility for connection and voice in the urban landscape. The current focus is on the notion of peaceable or public assembly.
Islands of LA was conceived of as a project to investigate the use and availability of the marginalised yet highly visible public spaces of traffic islands. Islands of LA views the traffic islands as everyday spaces and venues with a complex history and environment. The project explores the dynamics of these spaces through various ways including experimenting with the use of them. The exploration and usage of these spaces examines questions about public land use, law, urbanism, art and other topics specific to traffic islands. The project began on 9/16/07 and was conceived of by Ari Kletzky.
As Islands of LA expands beyond Los Angeles, “LA” will take on other meanings such as: Local Association and Legal absurdity. Los Angeles becomes Lawful Assembly…for Public Safety. In this case, the public is viewed as protected by the use and availability of islands of publicly owned, public space for peaceable assembly, which has a history of functioning as a collective activity that served as a check and balance on representative democracy and functioned to create a rich public and street life in cities in the United States
Read more at: http://islandsofla.org