Migratory Anagrams / INABA

INABA, with Darien Williams, has developed a hypothetical proposal for the migratory distribution of the Hollywood sign across , titled “HLYWD”. The project will be on display as part of SUPERFRONT LA‘s upcoming show, UNPLANNED: Research and Experiments at the Urban Scale.

The proposal will be on display until July 2. More images and architect’s description after the break.

Unplanned Surplus
The Hollywood sign has exceeded its purpose. As a marketing tool for real estate development, it has generated value incommensurate with its own material worth. As a tourist destination, it is more popular than most buildings in LA. In lieu of a singular skyline, the sign is a default backdrop for televised New Year’s countdowns and late night comedy shows. The Hollywood sign has assumed an iconic role in the city far beyond its original ambition. Its value is an unplanned surplus.

It is hard to pinpoint why some parts of LA are memorialized and others are not. (The same could be said of any city). But perhaps one hypothesis for the Hollywood sign’s enduring popularity is its adaptability. The sign’s lack of purpose makes it a ready vessel for new references and scales of broadcasting. The Hollywood sign is an open sign.

The Hollywood sign has not only exceeded its purpose, it has also exceeded its site. Aside from elevation, there are few aspects of the sign’s immediate environs upon which its effectiveness depends. With televised and other media exposure, the sign’s public visibility is not necessarily a factor of its physical visibility within the landscape. It could also be said that the site has exceeded the sign, in that the real estate value of the surrounding Hollywood Hills is independently viable and relies little on the permanent presence of the big white letters. If the Hollywood sign already functions without a site (and the site without it), why limit it to a fixed location? While its symbolic versatility has been well demonstrated to date, its physical adaptability remains an untapped opportunity.

Proposal: Let it roam? The sign’s simple structure and generic materiality lend it well to temporary erection on any number of sites throughout the city. Neighborhoods ‘borrow’ the sign or any subgroup of its letters for a determined period of time. Migration affords the sign a temporal dimension, which ensures its continued vitality as an unplanned landmark.

Cite: Jordana, Sebastian. "Migratory Anagrams / INABA" 06 Apr 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=55293>
  • supreme

    Certainly an interesting proposal, eloquently justified with the same temporal and simple characteristics of the sign itself.

    The roaming anagrams assert the symbolic versatility mentioned and perpetuate the euphoria of such a stable landmark being disassembled.


  • novan

    the picture which is “WOOL” giant font…remind me of “500 days of summer” movie. when tom sitting together with summer and start sketching on summer’s hand. is it right?? hehe

  • bran

    Is the general theme to split up the original Hollywood sign? If that’s the case I think that it is blasphemous……. The sign is iconic and should never be moved.

  • frank

    I couldn’t disagree more with this proposition! The hollywood sign’s ‘enduring popularity’ has nothing to do with its ‘adaptabitity’ but rather it’s fixity, like any other LANDMARK. Can you imagine roosevelt’s nose or the statue of liberty’s torche being paraded around country to make some sort of point about mobility??

    • bLogHouse

      I agree with frank – the fallacy of the proposal is in its emphasis on the ‘sitelessness’ of the sign, while it has a definite ‘siteness’ as a landmark. The splitting of the word “Hollywood” into letters is quite objectionable either. Why “WOOL” and “OWL” and not “LOL” for example. This brings the question about the meaning of the proposal – what does it do? Is it in any way a critical response to the ‘Hollywood’ sign as a media icon? Why not repeat the sign with just a change in one letter like “LOLLYWOOD”, “HOLLYMOOD”, “HOLLYWORD”, etc.?

  • hmmm

    This would be a great as marketing/advertising strategy. The Hollywood sign has been so culturally ingrained all over the world through media. To a lot of the world, Hollywood has been introduced and therefore immediately recognizable as “the sign”. However, this strategy of marketing would probably have a very short lifespan.

    The only problem is that this “marketing” strategy; even over a short of period time if used extensively/pervasively, would devalue the significance of the original “Hollywood” sign. Its increased visibility inevitably leads to its downfall. The meaning of significance of the original sign and those of the advertisers would both diminish; the original and the copies both lose power. This isn’t a case of gucci vs. fake gucci where we are talking about products. In this case the copies actually increase the value of the original due to increased visibility. This is because alongside increased visibility, there are differences in craft, materialiality, scent and tactility among the original and the copy that are detectable at the scale at which products are consumed.

  • hmmm

    Thus, the more copies…the more the original increases in value.

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