PROPOSAL FOR METRO EXPO LINE, 4TH STREET STATION, SANTA MONICA
Collaboration with Elyse Pignolet
Finalists - (proposal not accepted)
What we want to do is not just something that is about the community of Santa Monica, or the history of Santa Monica, but that is about something much bigger: It’s about all of Los Angeles - all of Southern California – and it’s not just the little feel-good things that show snapshots of a community, it’s about what makes this place unique on a global, cultural level.
The COLORADO/4th STREET STATION – of all the 91 Metro stops in Los Angeles – will be iconic. Like Hollywood and Vine is iconic for Hollywood, the “End of the Line” stop in Santa Monica will be a DESTINATION for tourists, for people coming from all over America, from all over the world. And when they step off that last metro stop at the beach – at the edge of the United States, at the edge of the North American Continent – they face the vast, vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. That’s why many of them will be arriving at the station on Metro – to get to the beach, the EMBODIMENT of the Southern California lifestyle: Palm trees, sand, sun, and water stretching as far as the eye can see. And many of these visitors might be seeing the ocean for the first time in their lives.
And because the station will undoubtedly become, along with, perhaps, Hollywood and Highland Station, the one station that epitomizes – that SYMBOLIZES or REPRESENTS or EMBODIES the entire Metro System. Not just the City of Los Angeles and the other cities that the Metro runs through, but this station has the opportunity to represent or EMBODY the essence of what makes the Los Angeles Metro System unique in the world and among global cities.
And what is it that makes LA and Southern California unique? It’s the sunshine, the palm trees, muscle beach, the suntans – all the STEROTYPES of Los Angeles that combine to make the Southern California lifestyle
And what best, most, symbolizes that Lifestyle?
What is most UNIQUE about life in California that all the people come from across the country and the world to visit and experience?
The thing that is represented on postcards, T-shirts, old airline posters – California and the BEACH LIFESTYLE – is SURFING!
Surfing started as a royal pastime in Hawaii and was documented by visitors as early as the 1700s. Today, it’s a global sport practiced in every place that there’s an ocean, or even a big lake. (They’ve been surfing in Chicago and Toronto lately, for example.) But what the average person doesn’t’ realize it that it wasn’t the Hawaiians who spread surfing around the world, it was the Californians. And it wasn’t just Californians, it was ANGELENOS.
These are just some of the reasons that it’s important and worthwhile and interesting and UNIQUE to use Surfing as the theme of the last station on the train line.
After all, this will be the station that tourists come to from across the United States all over the world. People come here for the sun, they want to see the beach. And people will be able to ride the train right to this station, walk down through the beautiful gardens that are being designed, walk right onto the sand.
So sure, when tourists step off the train at 4th Street Station, sure, they could see old photos of farms and the first homes in Santa Monica and the Chumash Indians and orange groves. But they can see those kinds of local history images at every station along the line – or at every station from San Diego’s Trolley to San Jose and BART for that matter. The story of California going from wilderness to rural to urban is a statewide story - and a staple of public artworks.
But the 4th Street Station is unique. It's the end of the line. It's the last stop before the end of America. Step off the train and the ocean spreads out before you. “What’s out there?” is a more important and interesting question than “What was here?”
And thinking of “What’s out there” makes the 4th Street Station NOT the end of the line. It’s actually the beginning of the rest of the world. The beginning of the Pacific Ocean, of the Pacific Rim. “Out there” are the myriad islands of the South Pacific, of Polynesia, Asia, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines. “Out there” these same waters lap at the shores of Peru and Panama and Pitcairn Island. Take off your shoes and wade in. Wade out a little further and float on the waves and now you’ve left the continent behind and you’re off the United States, floating towards the rest of the world. A watery world of surfing, that all started in the history of Santa Monica.
The 24 images will depict the beaches and surfing spots around the Pacific Rim that show the explosion of surfing as a Californian export. The depiction of exotic beaches at the station will enhance the idea that the Metro rider has reached the ocean, and that the waters of that ocean extend and connect to other beaches and distant shores. At the same time, views of exotic beaches reinforce the sense of a “beach” lifestyle which make Santa Monica unique from the rest of the city, and contrast with the urban views seen on the train ride.
LIST OF PACIFIC RIM CITIES AND PORTS TO BE DEPICTED (20):
Auckland, New Zealand
Tahiti, French Polynesia
Punta Lobos, Chile
Christchurch, New Zealand
Seoul, South Korea
La Libertad, El Salvador
Punta Arenas, Costa Rica
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico