Tar Pits Museum Gesture


Bubbling up from this spot along Wilshire Boulevard is the decaying asphalt that most people mistakenly call tar. This substance is suggestive of the lucrative oil deposits sitting underneath Los Angeles and, on this site, the asphalt also reveals the old and giant ice age flora and fauna buried below. It is one of the best urban archaeological sites in the world with millions of fossils uncovered and millions more left to be found. The fossils were discovered in the modern era when industrialists began digging for oil. For years the pits were interwoven with a field of oil derricks and now the largest pit (by definition man-made) is a protected "natural" landmark.

This project is based on a set of related conditions; that of time and memory. The fossils are pieces of transformed matter and translated memory. Each new fossil adds to the growing understanding of a long gone past. Unlike the dinosaurs, these creatures still exist somewhere in the pool of human consciousness: from our earthly cohabitation with them before we drove them to extinction. And the industrialized museum — with two towers sinking deep into the asphalt — connects the Ice Age to the Anthropocene, reminding Los Angeles of its long past, its petroleum present, and its fossilized future.









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