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  • Intern Recruitment Day

    Mar 30| Special Event
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    Continental breakfast will be from 8:00 – 8:45, interviews will take place from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. Otis welcomes companies that are recruiting for Summer internships in the following areas: Architecture/Landscape/Interiors, Digital Media, Communications Arts, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Product Design, Toy Design.
  • A quintessentially Los Angeles artist, Larry Johnson has worked for over 4 decades investigating the inherent contradictions between the shiny surfaces and underlying cynical logics of American culture. His works reference the languages of animation (especially the fantasy worlds of Walt Disney), graphic and commercial design, and advertising.

  • A limited number of tickets are available to FUN HOME, an emotionally charged and poignant family drama, inspired by the graphic novel of the same name by Alison Bechdel, in which she explores her coming out and the suicide of her domineering father Bruce. Sign up in the Office of Student Activities located in the Student Life Center Room 150E.

  • Transfer Day

    Apr 01| Admissions
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    At Transfer Day, prospective transfer students are invited to take a tour of campus, have their questions answered in a one-on-one appointment, and learn how to make a smooth transition to Otis College. If you are considering transferring into one of our programs, please join us on Saturday, April 1, 2017 from 12-3pm. 

     

  • Edgar Arceneaux was born in Los Angeles in 1972. He investigates historical patterns through drawings, installations, and multimedia events, such as the reenactment of Ben Vereen’s tragically misunderstood blackface performance at Ronald Reagan’s 1981 Inaugural Gala.

  • Rejuvenating Yoga

    Apr 04| Student Event
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    All students and Otis College community welcomed and encouraged to participate. Visiting artist Catherine Tingey facilitates the Yoga class!

  • The Architecture/Landscape/Interiors Department at Otis College of Art and Design is pleased to announce the George H. Scanlon Foundation Lecture REDUX.5 by Michiel Riedijk at MOCA.

     

    Michiel Riedijk regularly lectures at universities, cultural institutions and symposia worldwide. His theories and writings on architecture have gained international recognition from fellow architects and scholars. The work of Neutelings Riedijk Architects has received worldwide appreciation through numerous publications, international awards and exhibitions around the world. - Neutelings Riedijk Architects

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Literary L.A.

May 12, 2014
Spotlight Category: Faculty

Memory and Daily Life in the Invisible City

By Paul Vangelisti, Founding Chair, Graduate Writing

 

Time and place operate curiously in the daily and often dull ineptitude of a grammar that might describe such as fictive utility as L.A.

 

I must begin by mentioning the debt of gratitude I owe the Parisian poet Mohammed Dib, who consistently made me aware that L.A. was indeed the Invisible City, borrowing from me, as it were, the title for my literary magazine, Invisible City, which I edited with John McBride from 1971–82. During his stay in L.A., Dib would often smile capriciously and ask, as the afternoon began to cool, if it weren’t time to set off in my Datsun sedan and visit our invisible city, so that we might add to our “petites histoires.”

Poetry, for me, then, issues from the invisible city, the big nowhere that is L.A. Ours is a city of “theatrical impermanence,” as Christopher Isherwood called it, the home of tautological architecture where hot dog and hamburger and donut stands take on the shape of hot dogs and hamburgers and donuts, where at any given time only a little more than onethird of the population has lived there for more than five years. L.A. is blessed, in Tennessee Williams’ words, with “wonderful rocking horse weather, and a curious light so mesmerizing that, as Orson Welles once noted, ‘You sit down, you’re twenty-five, and when you get up, you’re sixty-two.‘” It functions, according to the poet Thomas McGrath, as the “Asia Minor of the intellect,” a place where, in the immortal words of the legendary producer Irving Thalberg (namesake for the Academy’s Oscar for “life-time achievement”), the writer is no less than “a necessary evil.” L.A. is also a place that has afforded writers and artists, to borrow a phrase from long-time resident Igor Stravinsky, “splendid isolation.” Memory in so willfully forgetful a place is critical, defining an almost palpable dimension of daily life, which is all the more vivid in contrast to the perpetual elsewhere that best describes one’s writing practice there.

Time and place operate curiously in the daily and often dull ineptitude of a grammar that might describe such as fictive utility as L.A. Time, for instance, may function as a property of light, a perpetual present or “timelessness” in close relationship to the peculiarly isolate and meditative light that is the single most distinguishing characteristic of our city. “Lots and lots of light–and no shadows,” notes artist Robert Irwin, “Really peculiar, almost dreamlike.”

I am suggesting that a preoccupation with our daily bread is a poet’s attempt to ground his or her work if not exactly in some form of realism, at least in a realistic attitude or position within this wacky environment. Lacking the public occasion and certainly the public form for serious literature—museums and other educational and public institutions in our city are hardly more than specimen boxes in today’s cultural marketplace—some poets instinctively employ the daily to create a context for their work, social, dramatic or otherwise. In a city where the image is considered truthful, and entrepreneurs the likes of (fill in the name of whatever current pop culture boss) are discussed in university and college classrooms as creative geniuses, a poet may look to his or her own isolated daily life to fashion a background against which language may be given room for serious play.

 

Editor’s Note:
This piece is excerpted from a longer essay that first appeared in Seeing Los Angeles: A Different Look at a Different City, edited by Guy Bennett and Beatrice Mousli; Otis Books/Seismicity Editions, 2007 Graduate Writing faculty member Martha Ronk’s poems also appeared in this publication.

 

Image: Sumi-e drawing by Les Biller

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