by Rita McBride
‘BI•NOM•IAL NO•MEN•CLA•TURE’ is an investigation into the possibilities of continuous change. We were inspired by the continuous struggle between additive and subtractive actions on the walls of buildings on West Adams Boulevard near our studio in Los Angeles. Advertising posters and graffiti tags are constantly added and immediately over-painted by the city in a deliberate attempt to neutralize the cityscape. The city uses a random assortment of colors, none of which match the original color of the buildings, creating an abstract composition that erases the content of the actions but also reinforces their composition.
At 5601 West Adams there is a 40 foot cinderblock wall protected by a steel picket fence that incloses a narrow strip of land on which two mature fan palms reside. In 2018 we spray-painted the latin binomial for the Mexican Fan Palm, Washingtonia Robusta, on the wall and two days later it was erased by a rough overpainting in bluish gray. Binomial Nomenclature is a scientific system for naming all the worlds fauna and flora, giving each a name composed of two parts, both of which use Latin grammatical forms, although they can be based on words from other languages. The first part of the name – the generic name – identifies the genus to which the species belongs, while the second part – the specific name – identifies the species within the genus.
Following on this initial event, new additions and subtractions will occur at semi-regular intervals highlighted by sporadic Saturday Salon gatherings. The most recent addition to the wall is by Christoph Beyer, entitled ‘Electric Pitstop’ and depicts a cosmology of car tires and auto parts floating in the black smoke clouds of a demolition derby apocalypse. ‘Electric Pitstop’ though not actually a Binomial does refer in spirit to a scientific concept of species evolution in which only specific parts of a creature evolves to suit changes in its environment, legs, feet, antennae for example, while the body remains unchanged. Electric cars share all the attributes of their old-fashioned fossil fuel burning cousins except the engine which has evolved. A pitstop is the car racing term for the speedy removal and exchange of the car’s running gear, tires and wheels and the topping-up of essential liquids. Car tires like the sloughed skins of reptiles are discarded along the path and accumulate in corners and in the untended no-mans land between private and public space.
5601 W Adams Blvd Los Angeles