5 design things to do August 31 - Sept 6

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This week: Listen to Black designers talk about how their environments shaped their work; see photos of Frida Kahlo projected in Catalina; discuss the future of small aircraft transportation; enjoy a screening of a Heidi Duckler/Wende Museum dance and opera performance; get ready to learn who won the Los Angeles City street lighting competition. 

1) The View from Here

"The View From Here" is a series of video conversations with Black American designers and artists about how the environments they grew up in impacted their creative vision. Hosted by A + D Museum in a partnership called Unearthing the Black Aesthetic, the artists in this series discuss their personal experiences, revealing the "multiplicity of what is blanketed as the Black experience." The goal of this project is to also spark conversation around topics like gentrification and identity in the built environment. 

Featuring: Renee Rutherford, Duane Gordon. Coming up: Robert Clarke, Patrick Dougher

When: Launched Aug 22. Available now and new videos available soon

Where: A + D Museum. Video series available here.

Cost: Free

Catalina Island Museum Presents Frida Kahlo Projection Series Frida Kahlo projection. Photo courtesy of Catalina Island Museum.

2) Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray

Check out Catalina Island Museum's latest exhibition from your golf cart. "Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray" is an intimate look at Frida Kahlo, the heralded Mexican artist, through the photographic lens of her long-time friend and lover, Nickolas Muray. The photographs, dating from 1937 to 1946, focus on  Kahlo's deep interest in her Mexican heritage, her life and the people with whom she had close friendships.  The exhibition features approximately 50 photographic images of Frida Kahlo, including six never before exhibited in the United States, as well as letters between Kahlo and Muray. They will be projected outdoors as larger-than-life images. 

When: Opened Aug 27. Exhibition projecting through Sept 27, nightly 8 - 10 pm

Where: Catalina Island Museum, 217 Metropole Ave, Avalon, CA 90704

Cost: Free; click here for more information.

3) CoMotion Live -- The Sky's The Limit: Regulating the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Revolution

While many have taken a break from flying during COVID, the investors and creators in the wild world of eVTOLs (electric vertical takeoff and landing) and drones have been busy getting ready for the future of passenger and freight carriage. They'll be flying the skies of a city near you sooner than you may think. Urban Air Mobility – UAM – has the potential to rapidly reshape urban mobility and alter commute patterns, but it begs important questions. Who should control urban airspace in the future, and how? Should eVTOLs be limited to fixed routes, or should they be free to roam as they please? How can this new technology better serve traditionally under-developed communities?

John Rossant, Founder and CEO of CoMotion, leads a webinar Wednesday with a roster of the industry’s top thinkers: Eric Allison, Head of Aviation Programs at Uber Elevate (see their concept, above); Dan Dalton, VP at Wisk in charge of regulatory initiatives at the all-electric, self-flying air taxi manufacturer that's backed by Boeing and Kitty Hawk; and Florian Lennert, Head of Mobility at NEOM, Saudi Arabia’s future city that has eVTOLs at the heart of its transportation mix.

When: Wednesday, Sept 2, 10 am

Where: CoMotion Live Zoom Webinar. Connection details provided with registration.

Cost: Free. You can register here.

What Remains – 2019 | Heidi Duckler DanceWhat Remains, by Heidi Duckler Dance, was created in 2019 for The Wende Museum garden. Photo courtesy of Heidi Duckler

4) What Remains: Online Screening and Discussion with Heidi Duckler Dance

For most of us, buildings are the backdrops to our lives. For Heidi Duckler and her dance troupe, they are the stage, literally. She has choreographed dance performances in laundromats, gas stations and the penthouse of a DTLA skyscraper. She also staged "What Remains," an experimental opera-dance production in the Wende Museum's garden in December of 2019. Now Heidi Duckler Dance and the Wende Museum are hosting an online screening and artist talkback of "What Remains."

"What Remains" focuses on the dual stories of Orpheus and Eurydice as imagined by the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, and the short story "What Remains", published in German in 1990 by Christa Wolf about the role of the Stasi (secret police) in East Germany. This experimental work included the work of three composers – an opera for four voices by Leaha Maria Villarreal, and music for flute, double-bell trumpet, synthesizers, and electronics composed and performed by Sarah Belle Reid and Justin C. Scheid. Heidi Duckler says that both the movement and the opera emanated from the female perspective and examined the notion of memory, the idea of forgetting, and the struggle for individuality, themes she found expressed in the Wende Museum’s exhibition The Medea Insurrection: Radical Women Artists Behind the Iron Curtain.

When: Thursday, Sept 3, 5 pm

Where: Wende Museum via Zoom; connection address provided with registration

Cost: Free. You can register here.

Street light on Lincoln Boulevard, Santa Monica. The City of Los Angeles hopes to elevate the design of street lights (photo by Frances Anderton).

5) LA Lights the Way

Last year, the City of Los Angeles launched "LA Lights the Way," an open competition to find a new design for street lights. The goal was the bring back some of the  warmth and elegance that could be found in the ornate poles of a century ago, and apply it to streets across Los Angeles.

A winner has been chosen and this Thursday Mayor Eric Garcetti will unveil the design. 

Over 100 teams submitted concepts. While they had to consider today's smart lighting technologies, Christopher Hawthorne, Chief Design Officer told DnA at the time: “I'm much more interested in the basic role that the streetlight needs to play as a piece of street furniture or a piece of urban design in the public right of way.” Designers were urged to think about shade, hardware and the possible inclusion of “some kind of text” relating to a specific neighborhood.

When: Announcement: Thursday, Sept 3, 9:40am

Where: LA CityView 35

Cost: Free.