When measured from the base to the top—the peak of 10,064 foot Mount San Antonio (also known as Mount Baldy)—the San Gabriels are taller than the Rocky Mountains. This vertical shift, next to the second largest city in the United States, presents both a challenge and an opportunity. At the base of the mountains lies an extensive system of flood control structures designed to hold back the cascading debris that tumbles down the disintegrating mountains. On the peaks of the mountains, antennas radiate the transmissions of the city - its television, radio, taxis, fire, police, and telephones—telecommunications that hold the social fabric of the city together. The mountains are an ally as well as a menace.
These debris basins and antenna sites show the divergent links between humans and the wild: At the top, the mountains are surmounted and used as an electromagnetic platform of social communication and control, radiating forever outward. At their base they must be contained, their inevitable collapse restrained, as they threaten our engineered landscape, and the fragile order we have established.
The exhibit runs through August 27th. The CLUI is open Friday–Sunday from 12–5, free admission.