Hancock Park | Los Angeles, California | Project for the LA County Museum of Art & the Page Museum of Natural History

On a plan prepared by paleontologists of Hancock Park, there is a diagonal line of scattered red marks, each of which notes the site of an excavation started early last century.  Here, the largest collection of mammal bones in the world have been taken from the  La Brea Tar Pits. Using the visual potential of the content of the site as the starting point I wanted to find a way to make visitors to the park aware of what was under the ground they walked on  – the bones embedded in oil. The proposal marks the sites of previous excavations and oil seeps which are constantly appearing, and makes the current excavations visible and accessible.  It would be a full scale three dimensional mapping which would reveal the instability of the site and its potential for transforming itself.

From the terrace of the art museum an elevated wooden walkway goes through the tops of the trees to a viewing pavilion which surrounds the ongoing excavation.  This complex is the focal point of the project.  Here the visitor is able to look down into an open rectangular pit where bones protrude from the tar as they are exposed by the archaeologists.  The abstract notions of geology, paleontology and  time spans  are made palpable here, where it is possible to see below the horizontal ground surface which is normally considered to be such a given. A walk through the park thus makes possible a new consideration of the place and time we occupy.