Perched on the outskirts of downtown LA in the Lincoln Heights district, a 3-acre warehouse and lot sit surreptitiously disguised to the everyday passerby. The 14th Factory collaborative miniverse sits discreetly amongst fellow warehouse properties, distinguished by two factors; the white logo emblazoned on a black wall outside and the valet stand. The several acres are divided into fourteen subsections, each devoted to site-specific video, painting, sculpture, photography, or scheduled performance. This collaborative installation is the brainchild of Hong Kong-based, British artist, Simon Burch, and involved twenty other artists and several collaborators.
After passing through the lobby and check-in (be sure to purchase your tickets in advance online), there is an immediate change of atmosphere as the viewer goes "down the rabbit hole" (a long, black hallway) and enters Burch's microcosm. Throughout one's journey through The 14th Factory, the viewer is transported from hypnotic, pulsing, and caliginous projection spaces and ethereal sculptural realms to open, naturally lit rooms that highlight two-dimensional and three-dimensional works. Via engaging shifts of luminosity and obscurity, one's sense of proportion shifts from one curated arena to the next. The transient visitors in Burch's cooperative Hippodrome are crucial to their engagement and activation of the spaces.
The underlying presence and energy of the site-specific platform exudes unity and diversity as a form of resistance in America's current sociopolitical climate that requires no physical force or violence. The space surpasses many preconceived notions of the "stereotypical" girth and breadth of a temporary site-specific installation. After passing the first couple clinically curated installations, one anticipates a farewell from the exit or gift shop, but is alternately rewarded for continued participation with prolonged Burch inception.
To highlight one of the single most immersive pieces, The Inhumans, is a collaboration by Wing Shya, Simon Burch, Jennifer Russell, and Hao Yibo, which manifests in the form of an expansive 6-channel video installation. Chills and electric energy invisibly billow in a large, secluded room in one of the warehouse's sectors. Projections of slow motion, seemingly primal fighters face-off in hordes as tension and anxiety build with the surround sound and pace of the channels displayed by the immersive screens. The space in which The Inhumans was choreographed and filmed closely resembles the installation space, to the point that the viewer can project him-or-herself into the narrative.
Similar to mythical creatures that exist only so long as children believe in them, The 14th Factory relies not on those who choose to collaborate in the space, but upon ticket sales as well. How long will The 14th Factory exist in its current iteration? That is hard to say, and entirely dependent on the public.
The following artists are included in The 14th Factory; Cang Xin, Wing Shya, Stanley Wong, Sarah Tse, Gary Gunn, Scott Carthy, Doug Foster, Penny Rimbaud, Jello Biarfa of the Dead Kennedys, Pauline Black of the Selector, and many others.
- Ivy Guild