Infrastructural Imaginary: Declassifying Taylor Yard
USC Roski School of Art and Design and the 2017 MA Curatorial Practices and the Public Sphere program presents Infrastructural Imaginary:Declassifying Taylor Yard an exhibition curated by Noémie Despland-Lichtert and the Roundhouse Platform in collaboration with Brendan Shea at 2426ww.
Taking place from March 25-April 9, 2017, the exhibition presented the history, current state and potential futures of Taylor Yard, a former rail yard in Glassell Park active as a Classification Yard from the 1920s to the 1980s and recently acquired by the city of Los Angeles, as the crown jewel of the revitalization of the LA river project. Infrastructural Imaginary : Declassifying Taylor Yard presented for the first time to the public the original drawings of the site from the Southern Pacific archives.
Active from the 1920s to the mid 1980s, Taylor Yard was once one of the most important classification yards in Southern California. Located between the river and the rails and in between abandonment and redevelopment, the now vacant large-scale urban lot can be defined by its interstitial and liminal character. Infrastructural Imaginary explores the history, current state, and potential futures of the land parcel. It presents contemporary explorations of the site in dialogue with historical documents. In Fall 2016, the Roundhouse platform organized three experimental urban labs on site. Part exploration, part workshop, the labs invited participants to explore the vegetation, industrial ruins and cartography of the site. At the same time, the drawings of the site were found after having spent decades in a train car. These documents offer several kinds of insight, that focus primarily on the history of the site, and how this history is also closely related to the larger history of Los Angeles. Furthermore, these documents teach us about building methods, and architectural and engineering drawing conventions of their time. By exhibiting the archives the exhibiton aim to declassify the former classification yard. Industrial Imaginary is an attempt to fill a gap in Los Angeles history by reintroducing industry into the larger narratives of the city and by exploring the construction of site through imagined narratives, artifacts, and projections.