Steve Rowell

Urban Crude: The Oil Fields of the Los Angeles Basin

In collaboration with the Center for Land Use Interpretation.

The fabric of Los Angeles, a continuous cloth of development, draped on the surface of the land, is shallow, but its roots, thousands of meandering straws of oil, dig deep into the soil. Like tree roots, these veins extract the living essence of the ground, fueling this city of the car. Like historical roots, these oil fields are the progenerative substrate, the resource pool, where the economy of Los Angeles originated, driving the development and culture of the city. Today, it continues. Los Angeles is the most urban oil field, where the industry operates in cracks, corners, and edges, hidden behind fences, and camouflaged into architecture, pulling oil out from under our feet. 

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