Negotiating the represented city : Los Angeles, the city of perpetual becoming



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Los Angeles has long been identified as a fragmented city, by nature of its cosmology and those constructed perceptions that constitute it in the collective imaginary. In an effort to articulate, interrogate and understand such a place, we have come to rely on its representations to function as mediators of meaning, delivering through their simulation of the city an experience of the real, lived Los Angeles. As a result, the relationships between the real and the representation become skewed, altering the processes by which we engage with the everyday. To better understand the implications of this dialectic, I examine four representations of the city: Disneyland, David Hockney’s “Domestic Scene, Los Angeles,” David Gebhard and Robert Winter’s A Guide to Architecture in Southern California and the BBC “One Pair of Eyes” installment “Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles.” By analyzing representations of Los Angeles produced in a range of media, it becomes possible to discern the complex relationships between the real and envisioned Los Angeles, and to recognize the constructive force that emerges out of this discursive space.