As with many of LAPD’s works, “The Back 9” is a multidisciplinary, multifaceted project. The visual art component of the exhibition will take the form of a miniature golf course to be activated by visitors to the Skid Row History Museum and Archive, which is located on the front lines of gentrification in the historic core in downtown Los Angeles.
The performance “The Back 9” is played in the installation. Golf courses, with all their attendant connotations of behind-the-scenes-power-plays, and—particularly in California—controversial land use, is an ideal playing field. LAPD’s performance draws on a playful means of concretizing obstacles, in this case, calculated insider forces that thwart community autonomy.
The Back 9: Golf and Zoning Policy in Los Angeles interrogates the power structures that have literally built Los Angeles. Ever since the city of Los Angeles created the first set of urban zoning codes in the nation, the city has been particularly effective at wielding these codes as a means for disenfranchising communities, historically handing over an extraordinary amount of control to the city’s developers. City zoning codes are now in process of being re-written as part of the Re:Code LA initiative and the new codes will first be applied in downtown. Seemingly innocent changes will effectively endanger the integrity of the Skid Row neighborhood, as current zoning mandates that all housing construction within Skid Row’s 50 square blocks be affordable to the extreme poor. Shifting zoning criteria away from “use” specifically opens the area to market rate development and facilitates the displacement of the thousands of formerly homeless hotel residents now living permanently in Skid Row.