The Cultivation Syllalbus
During this time of global isolation, we are embarking on a project of cultivation, looking to our artists for guidance in new knowledges, new skills, and new preparations for an unknown future. Once a week for three weeks, join us for an expanded syllabus of lessons running the gamut from the practical to the absurd.
April 28 - May 12, 2020
I drove delivery for a bunch of restaurants around Los Angeles for about 4 years, and between orders I would end up exploring random parts of the city. I'm sure other drivers or contract workers know this method. This random way of exploring in my car became something I now do with more intention. Just like walking around New York, or taking the train around Berlin, driving around Los Angeles with no destination is an adventurous stress relief. Through these drives I have really realized how mountains, valleys, rivers, trains, and industry have shaped Los Angeles. How Southern California alternates pockets of high activity and pockets of desolation. Driving around your surrounding areas teaches you the histories there and sheds light on your daily experience. It allows you to see through the seemingly mundane (especially in the hardcore suburbs), to see how many transitions the land has gone through, how it came to be what it is. Learning like this feels natural, like the info just seeps into what I already know.
Since covid-19 started, I’ve been taking advantage of the rare experience of driving on empty LA freeways. This might be the only time I’ll ever experience this. Alexandra and I have been going on drives almost every weekend. No real plan. It usually starts with an unknown area to explore or a road to drive. We started at Stunt Road two weekends ago. It was filled with bikers, like sport bikers not the old school bikers. Stunt Road always reminds me of fast cars, racing. I used to know someone in middle school who lived at the start of Stunt. It’s tree-lined, cool in the summer, with so much space to explore. As we got to Piuma Rd. we turned east. After a couple interesting hours through the farms and commercial mega-areas of Camarillo and Simi Valley, we ended up in Fillmore. I highly suggest driving on Goodenough Rd., up to the condor sanctuary. Or stopping at a farmers market and stocking up on oranges.
I love looking into other people's lives, especially in the suburbs. Los Angeles is prime for suburbs. And so many valleys around—San Fernando, San Gabriel. San Bernardino County is an empire. Chino Hills, Diamond Bar…Go south and. Oh good idea would be to drive to Idyllwild. Go east into Big Bear. There is history all over the place. Norco is a surprise, seems like a horse capital. Driving around Norco is cool. It's really suited for horses. There were big boulders on the hill that seem good for climbing. These ranch style homes in LA are a dream, with all that space. There really is a sense of community here all centered around horses. Oof…and the stadium is something else.
Here are some Tips and Tricks while driving to enhance the whole experience.
- Turn on "avoid highways" and set a point somewhere you have no idea about. I always try to look for cool names. For example Sleepy Hollow, Twin Peaks, or Corona, California.
- Always pick the route that takes the longest.
- Paradoxically, don’t look at the map sometimes. If you get a feeling or see something cool go towards it.
- Think of your route on the map as a line drawing, make it extra wiggly for more of an experience.
- Safety is number one. Always stay aware of the road, and pull over if you need to look deeply into the map.
The Cultivation Syllabus