16: Geophotographic Index
2001 - 2004
The Los Angeles Aqueduct was completed in 1913 and was both the product and generator of a nearly endless network of images and myths. The aqueduct, linking the nascent megalopolis with the agrarian Owens Valley immediately became an extended landscape—the physical counterpart of the images contributing to its construction. The images used to produce the landscape of the aqueduct, both in representation and in fact, have been taken as singular expressions of objectivity on many occasions. The fixed perspectives they construct serve to reduce the landscape to the status of an object—of desire, of domination, of indifference, of neglect, or of beauty.
This atlas is an attempt to represent the multiple landscapes of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. Taking several representational perspectives simultaneously—written history, maps, photographic documentation, analytical drawings, indices, and explicative cultural analysis—it tries to present an admittedly narrow trajectory through the landscape of specific sites, themes, and events along the Los Angeles Aqueduct. Operating between the dual landscapes of pictorial representation and material ‘fact,’ the atlas draws links between the landscape itself and the myths that hover endlessly around it. In the end, the project is an attempt to develop a mode of landscape representation that, while inevitably pictorial, is simultaneously critical of its own perspective, presenting its own narrative structure as one of many possibilities within the framework of landscape understood as a space to be navigated and interpreted, not an object to be looked at or thing to be read.
Thumbnails of select pages comprising both narrative and analytical maps are presented above. A printable PDF version of the atlas is available here. Please contact us if you would like either a higher quality PDF or a printed version.
The Los Angeles Aqueduct: A Landscape Atlas was exhibited in the show Diversions and Dislocations at the Center for Land Use Interpretation in 2004.