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Cooper Design Space unveils 'Video Wall'

June 11, 2009 | 11:40 am


As the fashion-forward denizens of downtown's Cooper Design Space arrive for work on Friday morning, they will be greeted in the recently remodeled lobby by an ever-changing video art installation called "The Cooper Video Wall."

Inside the 1927 structure at 860 S. Los Angeles St. -- home to contemporary fashion studios and other creative businesses -- they will see, projected on a high wall about midway down the building's entrance hall, a continuing mix of music videos, photography displays and short films created by a cadre of international artists. These include Shepard Fairey, Koichiro Tsujikawa, Michel Gondry, Kosai Sekine, Sage Vaughn, Syd Garon and photographers Margo Silver, Jessica Miller and Kiino Villand/Mindbomb Films, among many others.

The installation -- which kicks off tonight with an invitation-only reception -- will be in operation during business hours, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekdays. The projections will appear in random order but will not repeat until all of about four hours of content has been shown. Most elements are accompanied by music.

The project was commissioned by building owner Steve Hirsh and curated by the Venice-based Flux studio; Perry Hoberman of the USC film school designed the software that creates the random loop. Hirsh would not reveal the budget for the project.

Jonathan Wells, Steve Hirsh Hirsh, Hoberman and Jonathan Wells, curator and creative director of Flux, gave Culture Monster a sneak peek at the installation earlier this week and talked about the philosophy behind the effort, which, in Hirsh's words, is to provide "little visual treats" for those who enter the building.

"We just remodeled our lobby and wanted to see if we could include some contemporary artwork," Hirsh said. Already familiar with the work of Flux, Hirsh approached Wells about coming up with a concept. "They have a great touch at current media," Hirsh says.

Hirsh points proudly to the wall to be used for the projection -- conveniently the rectangular shape of a traditional movie screen. "It's the one original plane that we left alone in the remodel -- it still has the original filigree and relief," he said. "It's very exciting to have the video appear on it."

Although Cooper Design Space caters to fashion designers, Hirsh adds that the creative team deliberately steered clear of projections of clothing designs or runway shows for the video installation. "We didn't want to be literal; we want to see the relation of fashion and art," he says.

"The Cooper Video Wall" will be on display for the foreseeable future, and building patrons may one day become part of the art. The hallway has been wired for video cameras so the display can become interactive "once the economy improves," Wells says.

-- Diane Haithman

Photos: "The Cooper Video Wall"; Jonathan Wells and Steve Hirsh. Credit: Diane Haithman / Los Angeles Times.