Storytelling on the Los Angeles Central Library Video Wall: A Curated Canvas

At the heart of Central Library in Los Angeles lies a captivating canvas of digital storytelling—the Central Library Video Wall. This vibrant space showcases a fusion of commissioned and curated artwork, fascinating visitors with its ever-changing display, and is a testament to the Library’s commitment to celebrating art, culture, and community. 

Images featured include frames from “Ikebana Paradox” by Connie Bakshi (left) and “HOS Artifacts” by Dev Harlan (right)

This spring, among the notable works currently adorning the video wall are two new digital exhibitions. “Ikebana Paradox” by Connie Bakshi and “HOS Artifacts” by Dev Harlan. Bakshi, a Los Angeles-based artist, classical pianist, biomedical engineer, and digital shaman, focuses on post-colonial narratives through her exploration of the boundaries between the synthetic and organic. Meanwhile, Harlan, an artist hailing from New York working in sculpture, installation, and digital media practice, challenges conventional notions of technology and its relationship with the natural world. Their works serve as poignant reminders of the power of art to provoke thought and ignite conversation.  

In addition to these compelling pieces, this month, the video wall also pays homage to Women’s History Month with historical portraits depicting notable women from Los Angeles’ past. From Tessa Kelso to Dolores del Río, these portraits serve as a testament to the rich tapestry of female influence woven into the city’s history. 

Tessa Kelso, former Los Angeles Public City Librarian (left), and actress Dolores del Río (right).
Both images are part of the LAPL’s Historical Portraits project.

The video wall features a dynamic blend of precision and passion, and the selection process is a collaborative effort between the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) and Standard Vision, an architectural lighting design studio and digital media company. This partnership delivers new content quarterly and ensures a continuous flow of fresh perspectives. Each piece is meticulously chosen to resonate with the diverse audience that graces Central Library’s halls. Six to eight pieces grace the digital wall at a time and stay in rotation for a year.  

While some animations are specially commissioned for the wall, others are carefully curated, with the selection process prioritizing local artists as a focal point, to reflect the vibrant essence of the library and its surrounding communities. 

A recent example is seen in Alice Bucknell’s piece, “The Alluvials: Chapter 1.” Bucknell conducted research at Central Library’s Science department to inform this work, creating a connection between the Library’s physical space and digital art featuring figures like L.A.’s beloved mountain lion P-22.  

“The Alluvials: Chapter 1.” by Alice Bucknell. This image features beloved mountain lion P-22.

The video wall also highlights “Octavia’s Haunts” by Ainslee Alem Robson. This captivating work, inspired by Octavia Butler’s legacy, features 3D imagery of the Central Library.  

As we gaze upon the ever-changing tableau of the video wall, we are reminded of its significance in the legacy of the Central Library. Much like the iconic murals adorning its walls, the video wall stands as a modern manifestation of art, architecture, and design. Since its inception in 2018, it has continued to captivate and inspire visitors, serving as a beacon of creativity and innovation. 

“The video wall is part of Central Library’s legacy of architecture, design, and iconography, like the murals in the rotunda and the motif of the newer wing of the Library. These video exhibitions are a continuation of these ideas using modern technology,” says Neale Stokes, Senior Librarian, Digital Content Team at the Los Angeles Public Library. 

So, the next time you find yourself at the Central Library, take a moment to immerse yourself in this ever-changing canvas of creativity, noting that the Library Foundation, and Members like you, play a crucial role in funding this artistic work at the Library, ensuring a steady stream of artistic expression.


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