Swen Leer is a special project by Helena Sequens and Peter Sadofsky who are both visual artists. The first realization was the monumental installation The Sign which was a part of the curated section of the LA Art Show. In parallel to this official installation, Swen Leer realized several interventions in public space in Downtown Los Angeles. This was all done as the Real News series. The poject is ongoing.
Highway signs are always right. Not in a political way but in the way of conveying a fact. We believe them, take their truth for granted. In our time of social-media-fed competing narratives, “alternative facts” and fake news, the road sign seems to be one of the last anchors of truth that everyone can agree on, left and right. At the same time it is a true icon of Los Angeles, a city of freeways and cars, of people commuting to and fro, many hours a day, each day. Arguably, the road signs are the most read and trusted literature of Los Angeles, if we can call them that. On the one hand, they are a powerful symbol of progress of the last century, of mobility, power and transitivity. On the other hand, however, they can be read as compromising evidence of our technological rampage that has lead us into a real climate crisis.
The installation The Sign plugs into this a-priori factuality by mimicking the iconic freeway signage, while communicating an unexpected message: “Your children WILL hate you – eventually”. The text is a speculation about the future of our society as well as a deeply disturbing existential thought that has crossed the mind of most parents. Their kids are the ones who will pick up the tab of our celebrated economical progress – a religion of economical Growth at all costs. The installation is a site-specific artwork, placing the iconographic freeway sign into the interior of the LA Convention Center, creating an absurd situation for the viewer, conveying a disturbing message in the matter-of-fact form they have recently seen in their car getting off the freeway to get to see the LA Art Show. And the message stands, after all, highway signs are always right.
Series, 2022 and ongoing
Puplic space interventions in Downtown Los Angeles