Center for Land Use Interpretation
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The Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) is a non-profit research and education organization, based in the Westside Palms neighborhood of the city of Los Angeles, in southern California. The CLUI organizes exhibitions, programs, field trips, and maintains an archive and database to engage the public's understanding of the man-made landscape, and extent and impacts of human interactions with the surface of the earth.
The Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) was founded in 1994 by Matthew Coolidge, and is a non-profit research and education organization that involves exploring, examining, and understanding land and landscape issues. The Center employs a variety of methods to this end, engaging in research, classification, extrapolation, and exhibition.
The mission statement of the CLUI is to "increase and diffuse knowledge about how the nation's lands are apportioned, utilized, and perceived."
Programs and notable projects
The organization produces exhibitions about land use phenomenology in the USA, and displays them at its exhibit locations and at other museum and non-commercial and educational venues. The CLUI produces publications, online resources, tours, lectures, and other public programs across the country. Activities of the Center are summarized and discussed in its annual newsletter, The Lay of the Land, in print and online.
It also operates other facilities and interpretive sites in the USA. The Wendover Test and Research Facilities are located in Wendover, Utah at the Nevada border, an artist residency program housed at a former military facility; and the Desert Research Station in Hinkley, California.
CLUI is also the lead agency for the establishment of the American Land Museum, a network of exhibition sites in various interpretive zones across the country, which together form a dynamic portrait of the national landscape. According to Coolidge, the "man made landscape is a cultural inscription that can help us better understand who we are and what we are doing."
The CLUI organizes public field trips to sites of interesting and unusual land use. This has been documented in the book, Overlook: Exploring the Internal Fringes of America with the Center for Land Use Interpretation.
In 2008, the CLUI mounted an exhibition, Texas Petrochemicalscape: A Portrait of Gallery Selected Petrochemical Sites at the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston.
Neither an environmental organization nor an artist collective, CLUI resists categorization by maintaining a diverse, eclectic program of activities that invite a closer examination of "humankind's interaction with the Earth's surface." Writer and curator Lucy Lippard suggests the CLUI occupies “a tantalizing liminal space (that) has opened up between disciplines, between the arts, geography, history, archeology, sociology.”
Culture writer Doug Harvey calls the Center, known for its “multidisciplinary examinations of human/landscape interaction, 'uncategorizable'.” He refers to CLUI programs, such as the 2008 Post Consumed exhibit and bus tour as “subtly infused with formal beauty and wit…unobtrusively informed by a patchwork of art historical, contemporary theoretical, sociological and geopolitical concerns and brimming with new information you don’t know is here until the ride home.”
According to Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne, the CLUI's activities “all tell some version of the same story: how we shape and find meaning in the physical landscape around us, whether it’s through oil exploration, architecture, map-making or freeway building.”
The CLUI specializes in what writer Nicola Twilley describes as a “brand of perceptual revelation”–“in which a previously overlooked site is made not only visible, but also legible as a guide to understanding larger, nationwide systems.”
Programs and projects
The CLUI also executes exhibitions, research projects, and public programs. The Center's programs and projects cover many types of land uses in the USA, including those related to agriculture, energy, industry, mining, communication, waste management, water resources, transportation, commerce, housing, recreation, and defense and preparedness.
The CLUI makes a collection of "unusual and exemplary" land use sites in the United States available online, through the database Land Use Database. The database compiles site-specific images taken by members of the CLUI, and are attributed to the CLUI Photo Archive. Also available through the CLUI website is the Morgan Cowles Archive, an online resource of over 100,000 images of thousands of locations taken by a range of CLUI participants throughout the years which exists though the support of "an endowment from the family and friends of Morgan Cowles, in his memory."
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- "About the Center". The Center for Land Use Interpretation. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
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- "Christopher Hawthorne, Architecture review: 'Centers of the USA' at the Center for Land Use Interpretation". Los Angeles Times. January 2012. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
- "Nicola Twilley, Finding Tarzan at the Sanitation Department". Good Magazine. April 2011. Archived from the original on 2016-10-02. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
- "The Center for Land Use Interpretation". www.clui.org. Retrieved 2019-03-05.
- Rothstein, Adam (2015-04-29). "Morgan Cowles Archive at the Center for Land Use Interpretation". re:sculpt | International Sculpture Center. Retrieved 2019-03-05.