Down the Block

Mark Ridley Thomas Behavioral Health Center, Los Angeles, Completed 2021 AIA LA Merit Award

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Down the Block is a permanent, ninety-foot-long artwork in the lobby of the recently renovated MRT Behavioral Health Center in Willowbrook, south of central Los Angeles. The installation stitches together digital photographs of three sets of homes from the local community using a traditional quilting block pattern.

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Willowbrook Homes

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Spread from Willowbrook is…es… by Rosten Woo

Silver Threads, a quilting circle with a long-standing history in the local community, has sewn hand-made quilts and donated them to patients in need at the health center.

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Quilting Block Pattern Studies

Inspired by the work of Silver Threads, Down the Block is a digital quilt- suggesting that digital imagery is the fabric of contemporary culture. The resulting composite streetscapes construct a tentative set of residential typologies in the Willowbrook community while also revealing the differences and idiosyncrasies of the neighborhood’s architecture.

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Panel A

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Panel B

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The layered images that comprise the streetscapes are alternately distributed onto two surfaces of a deep lightbox. The artwork utilizes the repetitive geometry of the quilt pattern to produce a parallax effect, causing the image to visually vibrate as the viewer moves along the length of the installation.

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The repeated swatches on the front and back surfaces collapse into a single 2d pattern when viewed in elevation, but a glitch-like repetition emerges from an angle.

Project Team: Luiza De Souza Photographs: Eric Staudenmaier