California Dreaming

Mathias Kessler's avatar Mathias Kessler

The site-specific installation “California Dreaming” is concerned with the medial emergence of places. In my work I explore how the film industry creates gentrified dream-places, whether it is in a series such as “Girls,” which has contributed to the gentrification of Greenpoint in Brooklyn, or in the Hollywood classic “The Night of the Iguana” (1964), which has turned an untouched sandy beach in the Mexican state of Jalisco into a monstrous tourist destination. But in its films Hollywood not only constructs places, it also destroys them. In the recently released film “San Andreas” the whole of California collapses in an earthquake. Disaster not only strikes within apocalyptic Hollywood plots where whole cities are swallowed by natural disasters, but also in reality through economic development. New ways of gas and oil drilling leave behind toxic waste and broken communities, for the benefit of fast-moving markets and marginal gain in the global economy. Grand Rapids is located in Michigan in the old “Rust Belt,” and is doing far better economically than close-by cities like Flint or Detroit. The Rust Belt, once known to be one of the most prosperous regions in the world, is now declining in its economic fortune. With it whole towns disappear, or like Detroit, are shrinking from millions to a few hundred thousand inhabitants. Here I will try to look into the abandoned industrial sites, once home to the working class in the golden area of the U.S., but now a predominantly low-income area with a high crime rate.

Entry Details
  • Art form: Installation
  • Depth: variable
  • Medium: mixed
  • Width: variable
  • Year created: 2016
  • Height: variable