The Triforium, located in the Los Angeles Mall (at the intersection of Temple and Main Streets) downtown was a kinetic sculpture designed to detect the motion of people walking by and to reflect their movements into patterns of colorful lights and sound. The artist (the late Joseph Young) also intended for the Triforium to project laser beams high into the night sky. In 1975 this huge sixty ton, six-story tall sculpture stood as a very futuristic piece of public art.
That said, how did you do with our recent (July, ’15) L.A. Quiz: This Public Art: Still Colorful and Still Looking for Respect ? Did you recognize the Triforium and have ready answers to questions of what and where posed in this post? Well, let me finish the story with the why, that is- why, is it still looking for respect.
We can start with the misfortune that befalls many great projects- budget restrictions. Limited funding nixed the laser beams into the sky. (The total cost without the laser beams still added up to $925,000). The sculpture was installed December 12, 1975 and technical problems began right from the get-go.
And so it went. The computer used to synchronize the lights and music had problems. (Remember back then, computers as we know them today, were in their nascent state. Bill Gates and Paul Allen had just established Microsoft in April of 1975, and Steve Job wouldn’t appear on the scene with Macintosh for another nine years.) The Triforium quickly became the object of ridicule. Through the decades because problems plagued the sculpture it was quiet but the ridicule never let up. So, the artwork seemed to have survived through the decades on the popular observation, “It was too expensive to fix and too expensive to tear down”. Ouch.
Well, there is hope. In 2006 the lighting effects were reactivated and the sound system can now play a wide selection of music. By the way, now the Triforium even has its own Facebook page at www.facebook.com. Angelenos love quirky items and this public art- having survived this long despite problems and decades of disrespect, somehow has paid its dues. Who knows, perhaps Joseph Young’s and his original vision of what the Triforium was suppose to offer Los Angeles truly was ahead of his time. Perhaps, soon, time will catch up with the vision.
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Ready for the next LA Quiz?
Here’s an iconic spot in Los Angeles, well know by bargain hunters and those of us who love to explore nooks and crannies. Check out the photo above. What is this place and where do you think it is? The Grove? The Farmer’s Market? If you’ve been here you probably recognize the place just by the narrowness. Just in case you’ve never been here I’ll give you a big hint: Keep a sharp eye out for bargains
(In a hurry? The answer can be found in my About Page)