Fritz Haeg works between his art, architecture and design practice Fritz Haeg Studio (though the currently preferred clients are animals), the happenings and gatherings of Sundown Salon (now Sundown Schoolhouse), the ecology initiatives of Gardenlab (including Edible Estates), and other various combinations of building, curating, dancing, designing, exhibiting, gardening, organizing, talking, teaching, and writing. His home base since 2001 is a geodesic dome in the hills of Los Angeles.
Question: What is suburbia?
Fritz Haeg: Suburbia. Well, suburbia is a really easy target for architects and urban planners today. I suppose to different people it means different things and there are always new terms or new words being invented for it and there is theorist who come out and support of it in certain ways. I think people that live in the suburbs and I know particular people that I have done gardens for in the suburbs field attached at times, because its such an easy target and its such an easy place to hate for certain people and there is a lot of new urban planning ideas that seek to attack the suburbs the way we have them today and take us back to maybe a few hundreds year ago, when we didn’t have a car. So, there is a lot of discourse around the suburbs today and I think its really easy space to hate into just completely toss out and start over again. I have a pretty intense connection to it I think, because I grew up in the suburbs. I grew up going to malls and mowing the front lawn and that’s the world I grew up. So, I think part of the edible estate project is grown out of that intimate awareness of that landscape and what it means to live in the suburbs. I don’t know, I guess I am less interested in creating some new utopia from scratch than I am in really reckoning with the world that we live in today and how each of us can take ownership of what we have created for ourselves and to live in more human in thoughtful way. So, I tend not to think in big grand gestures of remaking new cities. What is our new city look like? Because we don’t have the opportunity in make in the cites in anymore, and we don’t make them overnight and the ones that we do tend to be miserable disasters because they are created by 1 or 2 or handful of people for the masses, imposing our will upon people that will never mean. So, I tend to be much more interested in movements in ways of taking back control of what we have made for ourselves in ways that each individual has complete control of or each individual is given liberty to make within our cities, with our suburbs and there is small piece of land what they would like for themselves.
Recorded On: 3/10/08