Tapping into the Bonaventure, Los Angeles


Kreider + O’Leary, LA Tapped (2009): still image of performance at Bonaventure Hotel.

We were recently in LA – Venice Beach, the Sunset Strip, Hollywood … The sun was shining, the buildings were gleaming and the cars continually spat out fumes while passengers inside rocked on to personal stereo systems.  Everyone seemed fit, healthy and relatively well-off – a city glistening amidst the economic gloom of global recession and state bankruptcy.  Perfect place for a tap dance!

We set up camp in the Bonaventure Hotel – a hyperspace maze, ‘city within a city’ – designed by architect and developer John Portman and completed in 1976.

Westin Bonaventure Hotel, Los Angeles, CA.

This is the largest hotel in LA and has been featured in numerous films and television shows including Strange Days Blue Thunder, This is Spinal TapIn the Line of FireNick of TimeTrue LiesMidnight MadnessShowtimeHard to KillChuck and classics like Buck Rogers in the 25th Century!

(The Bonaventure has also been featured in CSI.)

In his seminal essay ‘Postmodernism: The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism’ literary critic and Marxist political theorist Frederic Jameson discusses the Bonaventure as an exemplar of postmodernist space, concluding that ‘this latest mutation in space – postmodern hyperspace – has finally succeeded in transcending the capacities of the individual human body to locate itself, to organize its immediate surroundings perceptually, and cognitively to map its position in a mappable external world.’  Jameson’s words rang in our ears as we tapped into, around and through the Bonaventure.

Kreider + O’Leary, LA Tapped (2009): composite of video stills from performance documentation.

And, as we continue work of the piece – editing together the performed sequences, adding in other elements – we shall surely hear an echo of Jameson’s final claim that this ‘alarming disjunction point between the body and its built environment’ can be seen as the ‘symbol and analogue of that even sharper dilemma which is the incapacity of our minds, at least at present, to map the great global multinational and decentred communicational network in which we find ourselves caught as individual subjects.’

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