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SILENT | Construction and opening (1913) of the L.A. Aqueduct. Go [here] for more info.

[ITINERARY]

 

Turn back the calendar a century and you’d see teams of 54 mules hauling enormous sections of pipe across the Santa Clarita Valley.

That pipe would become the Los Angeles Aqueduct, which still can be seen above-ground near Saugus High School and elsewhere.

Actually, by this date 100 years ago, the pipe was already lain, and in just a few weeks, on Nov. 5, officials with what became the L.A. Department of Water and Power would turn the spigots at the top of the Cascades. That’s the manmade waterfall you see to off to the east of Interstate 5, just south of the Newhall Pass, when you drive back home from down below.

On that date in November 1913, with the words, “There it is, take it,” William Mulholland sucked the water out of Owens Lake, 200 miles to the north, and delivered it to a thirsty Los Angeles.

Why mention it now? Because it’s about to happen again.

No, they’re not laying another pipeline or draining more farmland.

But the mules are coming.

Starting this month, a team of 100 mules will be driven southwest from Bishop, traversing the 240 miles of pipelines and canals that bring water from the Eastern Sierras through the gravity-fed aqueduct to Los Angeles.

mulesTheir final destination is Griffith Park on Nov. 11, but along the way they’ll pass through the Santa Clarita Valley and stop for a 100th anniversary celebration at the Cascades.

The trek is a project of Los Angeles artist Lauren Bon, a Princeton (1984) and MIT (1989) graduate who’s the granddaughter of philanthropist Walter Annenberg. Bon runs a studio on Spring Street in L.A., Metabolic Studio, where art and philanthropy intersect.

In a statement, Bon says the project, called “One Hundred Mules Walking the Los Angeles Aqueduct,” is “an action with a resolution to move forward into the next hundred years with renewed appreciation for this vital resource: Let it be resolved that the citizens of Los Angeles will do better at utilizing this life-giving resource in the next one hundred years.”

L.A. Aqueduct, shortly after it opened in 1913. Centre Pointe Business Park is in the foreground; the Greenbrier mobile homes are in the distance. In between is Soledad Canyon Road.

L.A. Aqueduct, shortly after it opened in 1913. Centre Pointe Business Park is in the foreground; the Greenbrier mobile homes are in the distance. In between is Soledad Canyon Road. Click image for more info.

It’s not Bon’s first “project with a message,” by any stretch. One of her recent works was “Not a Cornfield,” where she spearheaded the transformation of a 32-acre industrial brownfield in L.A., north of Chinatown and south of Lincoln Heights, known as the Cornfield, into an actual cornfield for one agricultural cycle.

Nor is “100 Mules Walking” the end of it. Bon says the mule trek is a prelude to the next project, “Bending the Los Angeles River Back Into the City,” where she intends to “pierce the concrete jacket of the Los Angeles River and use a sixty-foot waterwheel to reconnect the land to the river that originally supplied water to the city.”

That would be the Los Angeles River, which used to run wild.

In the near term, the mules should start to make a splash as they leave Bishop and follow the course through Manzanar (the ex-Japanese internment camp above Lone Pine), Owens (now) Dry Lake, Pine Canyon, Neenach (north of Lake Hughes), the Cascades and Hansen Dam en route to Griffith Park, culminating in a Veterans Day Parade down Western Avenue in Glendale and a ceremony at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank.

Bon and her associates at Metabolic Studio have been working with a number of mule owners and historical groups including the American Mule Museum, a nonprofit group based in Bishop that’s working toward the establishment of a physical museum.

Bon says “100 Mules Walking” is coordinated with the support of the LADWP.

 

[ITINERARY]

 

 

 

Lauren Bon

Lauren Bon

Biography of Lauren Bon

(From the Annenberg Foundation)

 

Lauren Bon, granddaughter of Walter Annenberg and daughter of Wallis Annenberg, serves as a Director of the Annenberg Foundation. She is a graduate of Princeton University and MIT; and holds degrees in architecture and the history and theory of art. She lived in London for more than a decade and currently lives in Los Angeles where she is raising a son and a daughter.

Lauren’s work as a trustee is most notable for her project-based philanthropy. In 2005 the Not a Cornfield initiative transformed a 32-acre brownfield into a green field during one agricultural cycle, and stimulated a conversation about public parks. The site is currently being designed as a permanent park. Farmlab, which built upon the Not a Cornfield community, then emerged as a project-based initiative to support living things in an often difficult to survive in metropolis.

Lauren’s philanthropic practice is operated out of a downtown warehouse called the Metabolic Studio. She defines the Metabolic Studio as the intersection of art and philanthropy. There are three distinct arena’s within the Metabolic Studio: Farmlab; Chora, which supports intangibles that precede creativity; and AMI-the Association of Marginal Institutions. Recent work includes the Owens Valley Project and Strawberry Flag, the raising of a flag of reclaimed strawberry plants on an unused quad at the VA campus in West Los Angeles. The Metabolic Studio brings an element of fieldwork to the Annenberg Foundation. Many of the environmentally driven initiatives of the Foundation are conducted in this space, including feasibility work on the Mayor Villaraigosa’s One Million Tree Initiative, brownfield remediation through mushrooms, and the salvaging of hundreds of South Central Farm trees, which are now the center piece of a new urban farming program at the Huntington Library and Garden.

 

EDUCATION

1989 MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, BOSTON, MASTERS OF ARCHITECTURE

1985 ARCHITECTURAL ASSOCIATION, LONDON

1984 PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, PRINCETON, BACHELOR OF ARTS

 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

 

2007

BEES AND MEAT, ACE GALLERY LOS ANGELES

 

2003

PROJECT ROOM: HAND HELD OBJECTS, SANTA MONICA MUSEUM OF ART, SANTA MONICA

 

2001

INVISIBLE AND FREE: CONJURING WORLDS IN THE MIND’S EYE, MILLER BLOCK GALLERY, BOSTON

 

2001

INVISIBLE AND FREE: CONJURING WORLDS IN THE MIND’S EYE, ROBERT BERMAN GALLERY, LOS ANGELES

 

1999

RELEASING FEAR PROJECT, MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, BELFAST DIAGRAMS OF CHORA, MILLER BLOCK GALLERY, BOSTON

 

1998

SCULPTURE, HEREFORD SALON, LONDON

 

1997

FROM A DISTANCE, FREUD MUSEUM, LONDON

 

1996

BUILT ON SILENCE, DANIELLE ARNAUD CONTEMPORARY ART, LONDON

 

1996

THE PRESENCE OF ABSENCE, MAIDESTONE LIBRARY GALLERY, KENT

 

1995

STUDIES FROM MY PREGNANCY, HEREFORD SALON, LONDON

 

1994

BECKETT PIECES, OXFORD UNIVERSITY, OXFORD

 

1993

TOTEMS, HEREFORD SALON, LONDON

 

1991

ARTIST IN RESIDENCY EXHIBITION, FOREST SCHOOL, BERKSHIRE GROUP EXHIBITIONS

 

2007

QUEEN BEES: ECO-ACTIONS AND COLLECTIVE ORGANIZING, IRENE CARLSON GALLERY, UNIVERSITY OF LA VERNE, LA VERNE

 

2007

INCOGNITO, SANTA MONICA MUSEUM OF ART, SANTA MONICA

 

2007

100 GOOD IDEAS TO CHANGE THE WORLD, HAYWARD GALLERY, LONDON

 

2005

THING: NEW SCULPTURES FROM LOS ANGELES, UCLA HAMMER ART MUSEUM, LOS ANGELES

 

2003

L.A. “UNPLUGGED,” L.A. INTERNATIONAL, CHINATOWN

 

2000

BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE, HEREFORD SALON, LONDON

 

1997

GALLERY ARTISTS’ DRAWINGS, DANIELLE ARNAUD CONTEMPORARY ART, LONDON

 

1997 SCULPTURE AND THE NOMADIC AESTHETIC IN CONTEMPORARY ART, HEREFORD SALON, LONDON

1996 THE GLASS BORDER, DANIELLE ARNAUD CONTEMPORARY ART, LONDON

1995 NEW SCULPTURE, PHOTOGRAPHS, AND PAINTINGS, HEREFORD SALON, LONDON

1994 THE LANGUAGE OF MAKING, THE ARCHITECTURAL ASSOCIATION, LONDON

1987 PRO-PEACE EXHIBITION, L.A. LOUVER, LOS ANGELES SCULPTURE AND THE NOMADIC AESTHETIC IN CONTEMPORARY ART, HEREFORD SALON, LONDON

1996 THE GLASS BORDER, DANIELLE ARNAUD CONTEMPORARY ART, LONDON

1995 NEW SCULPTURE, PHOTOGRAPHS, AND PAINTINGS, HEREFORD SALON, LONDON

1994 THE LANGUAGE OF MAKING, THE ARCHITECTURAL ASSOCIATION, LONDON

1987 PRO-PEACE EXHIBITION, L.A. LOUVER, LOS ANGELES

 

COMMISSIONS

 

1998 A PIECE OF A MONOLOGUE, AMERICAN REPERTORY THEATRE, CAMBRIDGE

1997 HAZE SOLE CERTITUDE, THE OLD MUSEUM, BELFAST

1992 TOTEM, FOREST SCHOOL, BERKSHIRE

1989 WINNING ENTRY FOR BERKLEY FREEDOM OF SPEECH PUBLIC MONUMENT

1988 PASSAGES, MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, BOSTON

 

URBAN AND PUBLIC PROJECTS

 

2007 FARMLAB, LOS ANGELES

2007 GARDEN OF BROKENNESS, LOS ANGELES

2007 SOUTH CENTRAL TREE MEMORIAL, LOS ANGELES

2005 NOT A CORNFIELD, LOS ANGELES

1999 RELEASING FEAR, BELFAST

1993 THAT MIGHTY SCULPTOR TIME, HONG KONG AND LOS ANGELES

1993 LANDMARK SITE, IN COLLABORATION WITH TAO HO ARCHITECTS, HONG KONG

1992 ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIVE BRIDGE, EDINBURGH

1991 ANATOMY, BELGRADE

1991 SIGNING, BELGRADE

1991 URBAN EXCAVATIONS, BELGRADE

1989 OFFERING, BOSTON

 

SYMPOSIA

 

2007

CEASEFIRE! BRIDGING THE POLITICAL DIVIDE: PROBLEM SOLVERS; PANELISTS: LAUREN BON, SHERRY LANSING, KEVIN WALL; MODERATOR: JUDY WOODRUFF, JUNE 19, 2007

 

1997

FIRST HEREFORD SALON SYMPOSIUM, ILLUSION OF FREEDOM; SPEAKERS: RANKO BON, GORAN DJORDJEVIC, JUDITH SCHONEVELD AND GUISEPPE MASTRUZZO; PARTICIPANTS: SELCUK AVCI, LUTZ BECKER, LAUREN AND MARKO BON, SUE MALVERN, GEORGE PERENDIA, GEOFFREY POWIS, GILES PRINCE, SIMON RAE-SCOTT, PAUL RHYS, AND HELEN WILKS, JUNE 27-28, 1997.

Not a Cornfield (Farmlab)

Not a Cornfield (Farmlab)

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