Overlook: Exploring the Internal Fringes of America with the Center for Land Use Interpretation
Edited by Matthew Coolidge and Sarah Simons. Essay by Ralph Rugoff.
The Center for Land Use Interpretation is a research-based educational organization that produces public programs about the built landscape of the United States from its sites in Los Angeles, Utah and the Mojave desert, with an upstate New York location opening in 2006. The Center's aim is to increase and diffuse information about how the nation's lands are apportioned, utilized and perceived. Recent examples of their work include a two-day "Tour of the Monuments of the Great American Void" by bus and the exhibit Immersed Remains: Towns Submerged in America. This book takes readers on a tour through the strangely unfamiliar land that Americans live in, demonstrating that we can understand ourselves and the nation by examining the clues on display all around us, often clearly visible but ignored. Each chapter explores a different topic, from an in-depth look at Ohio ("the most all-American state"); through scale shifts in model landscapes, exemplified in the three largest hydraulic models in the world; and law-enforcement training environments that "simulate" public space. Readers can dive into the hidden and enchanting world of show caves, where America is on display underground; and come up into the Great Basin, a zone covering most of Nevada, and portions of Utah, California, Oregon, Idaho and Mexico, whose network of watersheds has no outlet to the ocean. Following lines and edges, through cities, suburbs, small towns and wide-open spaces, the Center guides us upstream, toward the heart of another America--the same, but different.