Barry Lehrman, author of the first chapter of The Infrastructural City, discusses the genesis of the chapter and shares details from both earlier drafts of the chapter and his thesis project, which was to design “an alternate dust mitigation system to restore Owens Lake and create a hybrid landscape for tourism and habitat”, in Writing ‘Infrastructure of the Void’. Lehrman will be posting additional material each day this week, including more details on that design project, “an Owens Lake/Los Angeles Aqueduct bibliography, the Owens Lake Dust Mitigation project team, and a podcast“. As we’ve been discussing parallels between Owens Lake and the Everglades, both here and at F.A.D., Lehrman has also posted a project for the Miami Lakes Belt, “Emergent Urbanism”, which proposes a slightly tongue-in-cheek “Miami Archipelago”.
Free Association Design asks what Owens Lake tells us about the meaning of the term “urban”, and looks at Owens Lake as an example of how twentieth-century infrastructures were produced by a “viscous feedback loop” of “crisis-action-crisis”, in Problematic Surfaces and Collateral Urbanism: Reading into the Owens Lake Parable. A follow-up post, Reconstructing the Void, compares Owens Lake to the Everglades, noting the impossibility of returning such heavily infrastructural landscapes to their pre-anthropogenic condition — which, of course, is not to say that there is no healthier or more ecologically productive future possible.
DPR-Barcelona curates a fantastic selection of photography of Owens Lake, while speculating about leaping From Dust Problems to Towing Icebergs.
FASLANYC lets William Vollmann guide us toward Owens Lake as mythology, concluding with an astonishingly appropriate quote from Italian poet Eugenio Montale: Bring me the sunflower so that I might transplant it into burning fields of alkali, which tells us just about everything we need to know about Owens Lake.
Peter Nunns discusses the strange ecologies of disrupted landscapes outside of LA and Seattle, linking the production of atomic bombs, glow-in-the-dark-feces, toxic dust storms, and the power infrastructure of Los Angeles. In another post, the anti-infrastructural nation, he describes a handful of pieces of New Zealand’s infrastructural history, painting New Zealand’s tendency towards fragmentation and away from centralization as the polar opposite of the southern Californian tendency towards unification and mega-infrastructures.
Nam Henderson considers Owens Lake as a new nature and a frontier, in Preserving the integrity of the void.
Peter Sigrist emphasizes the ethical dimensions of Owens Lake at Polis.
Next Monday, we’ll be discussing David Fletcher’s “Flood Control Freakology”, which explores the ecologies of the highly modified Los Angeles River, as well as Lane Barden’s photo essay, “The River”.
We’ll try to update this post with additional links as more material is posted this week. If you have responded to this week’s chapter and we haven’t added a link here, please let us know via email or in the comments.