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Under Black Carpets

(the project is currently ongoing)

Under Black Carpets is an investigation into the "use and misuse of the cityscape where by architecture is considered both the obstacle and the tool to bridge or separate you from what you're looking for" (Geoff Manaugh, Breaking In and Breaking Out) in both legal and illegal agendas.

What if the object is not a "witness" but an entity constructed for the express purpose of creating, or activating, a legal, conclusive discussion? An object might be used to map the diffused networks of informal or illegal labor, or be called upon to narrate historical events in the absence of evidentiary materials.

"Stories are told… Stories are extracted. Stories are constructed in those operations which impose order and reason, of hygiene, empowerment and disempowerment - some believed, some discarded. There are miscarriages of justice, and can we ever know the mind of the criminal? Entropic fragments, traces, terminal associations, aftermath, degradation, the sedimentation of everyday life, haunting absences - this is also, we propose, an archaeological sensibility.
Archaeologist Michael Shanks, in Michael Shanks & Mike Pearson's Theatre/Archaeology (2001)

Today's legal and political decisions are often based upon the capacity to display and read DNA samples, 3D laser scans, nanotechnology, and the enhanced vision of electromagnetic microscopes and satellite surveillance. From retinal scans, biological remains, landscape topographies, to the remnants of destroyed buildings, forensics is not only about diagnostics, but also about the rhetoric of persuasion. The aesthetic dimension includes it's means of presentation, the theatrics of its delivery, and it's form of image and gesture. Of present, forensic aesthetics carries with it grave political and ethical implications, spreading its impact across the cultural, socioeconomic, environmental and scientific landscape.

Working in collaboration with both the FBI New York Dept of Justice and the LAPD Archival Department. Under Black Carpets presents a meticulous deconstruction of several bank heists simultaneously occurring in downtown Los Angeles, focusing specifically on 5 different banks that centre One Wilshire. The work presents itself as site-specific forensic study. A spatial tool accompanied by a kit of parts, presented as a dense numerical index. Each artifact is individually numbered, assuming the role of the protagonist within the collection and pin-points it's own whereabouts on a grid of vertical and horizontal geographical coordinates. The viewer is invited to examine and cross-reference this collection, allowing ones own constructed interpretation of the event as it unfolds from muiltiple, distorted perspectives.

The suggestive narrative is flawed, over compensated, lacking in distinguishable truth and linearity. It is purposefully curated with the intention to seem overly fragmented, confusing and complex, much like that of a police investigation. The answer is still cloudy and unclear, but with hope for resolution.

WeMakeMoneyNotArt, Core 77, It's Nice That,
Wired Magazine USA, Uncrate, Designboom,
Wired Magazine UK, Disegno, Dazed and Confused,
Lodown Magazine, Another Something and Company,
Boing Boing, Los Angeles Times, Beautiful Decay,
Creative Applications, The Minneapolis Egotist,
Beyond the Beyond - Bruce Sterling, NNN Nippon News,
CNBC (Larry King), Resonance 104.4 FM
Fast Co.Design, Hyperallergic
- 99% Invisible 'Breaking the Bank'. Interview with Roman Mars alongside: Armin Blasbichler, Janice Kerbel, Russell Gewirtz and "Choir Boy Robber" Thomas Justice.
- We Make Money Not Art, Interview with Regine Debatty.
- Disegno Interview with Oli Stratford./
Bank Targets
10 Square Mile Radius of Downtown Los Angeles
Google Earth
Players: Bistanders, Witnesses, Police, Heros, Jumpers, Women & Children, Hostages
1/200 Scale Figures
Vessels: American Airlines A300, US Airforce Jet 'Birtha'
1/200 Scale Models
Scale Model of Downtown Los Angeles
1/200 Scale Model
Los Angeles Police Academy
Photographs, C-type Prints
Exhibition View
FACT, Liverpool





© Ilona Gaynor 2013

Concept, Design, Direction: Ilona Gaynor

Research Assistants: Sarah Needham, Jisu Choi,
Jeremy Eichenbaum, Will Frohn, Simon Jeal
and Lucy Silverwood.

Ongoing Advisors: FBI Department of Justice - New York City and the
Los Angeles Police Department - Archival Dept

Special Thanks: Tim Durfee, Ben Hooker, Norman Klien,
Anne Burdick, Diego Trujillo and Ian Besler

Research generously funded by: Sir Ridley Scott
Early study funded and supported by:
Art Center College of Design, Media Design Practices