Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

Stories like this are a constant reminder that there are people who do need to be given the same services and consideration as everyone else. It's also a wonderful story of renewal.


With Pigeonly, Frederick Hutson is using technology to keep convicts connected to friends and family -- and maybe turn their lives around.

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Rob Brunner
Published: 30 October 2014, Fast Company

Entrepreneurs often tap personal experience for startup ideas. In Frederick Hutson’s case, that experience was incarceration. "I just saw so many inefficiencies when I was in prison," he says. "The way the system worked was archaic. There was obviously a problem. I knew technology had advanced far ahead on the outside, but no one has built anything to address it." [read more]

How far would you go to get things back the way they were? This trio went very, very far indeed. 

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Mary McVean
Published: 21 November 2014, Los Angeles Times

Owner Gerald Casale watches the sunset from the top-floor patio of a Richard Neutra house originally designed for journalist Josef Kun. Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times.
Musician Gerald Casale knows the value of a second chance.

A founding member of the new wave band Devo, he had planned to buy Richard Neutra's Kun House nearly 30 years ago. "I had been a fan of Neutra since graduating from Kent State University, and I was going to buy [the Kun House] in 1985 for $250,000, and Devo lost their deal with Warner Brothers before it went into escrow," leaving him without enough funds, says Casale.

About seven years ago, Casale got his second chance. He now owns the two-bedroom, two-bathroom home. He, modernist preservationist and artist James Rega and designer and researcher Christopher Steele have been creating a time warp at the 3½-story house perched on the rock face of Nichols Canyon in the Hollywood Hills. [read more]

I'm a reader. I read pretty much anything you put in front of me, which is why Rosten Woo's work is so fascinating for me. His current project involves making the informational signs many of us dismiss every day, but he adds a little political twist to it that makes us think. I love it. 

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Yosuke Kitazawa
Published: 19 November 2014, KCET

Rosten Woo and his first L.A. River sign | Photo: Carren Jao
As long as humans have needed something to mark a spot, signs have been used, and then overlooked. In Ancient Rome, signs helped weary travelers navigate the many roads of the empire. In early British history, inn signs identified, advertised, and oriented wayfarers. On a chilly October day in Los Angeles, one new sign made its debut on the banks of the Los Angeles River.

Masquerading as a California State Parks signage, artist Rosten Woo's 42" by 32" sign seeks not just to inform, but also to provoke its readers. "We're essentially in a state park and not many people have an understanding of what it is," said Woo, as we chatted a few yards from artist Michael Parker's Unfinished during the second Los Angeles River campout last October. "I wanted this sign to be interpretative of the natural environment, but also reflect the political and social environment on site." [read more]


Experimental Dance by the Los Angeles River

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Text and Photos by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Drew Tewksbury
Published: 23 October 2014, Artbound

Harriet Bailey run "Guided Viewing Dance" with her four dancers | Photo: Carren Jao
With no shade in sight, surrounded by a sea of cemented roads and industrial buildings, Laura Berg, Lindsey Lollie, Jordan Saenz, and Gracie Whyte began a rhythmic movement set to an unheard music.

Together, they cling to the green fences that separated the Ed P. Reyes Greenway from Avenue 19; they climb and vault off the short silver poles that lined the fence; and they run to and fro, constantly changing directions like billiard balls after a break shot. [read more]

LA is earthquake country, but most of us go around trying to forget that. This installation at Materials and Applications is a deliberate attempt at opening our eyes again. DV Rogers has created a place where we can contemplate our place in the middle of this constant movement beneath our feet. 

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Laura Raskin
Published: 22 Oct 2014, Architectural Record

The Domus shelter in front of Materials & Applications in Los Angeles.
Every day, the earth quivers and convulses. Hardly anyone notices. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimates there are 500,000 detectable earthquakes in the world each year; only 20 percent of those can be felt by human beings.

In Los Angeles—in a bid to open the eyes of an endangered community—artist and engineer D.V. Rogers, along with a group of volunteers, has constructed Domus, an experimental installation that allows visitors to experience the world’s constant, pulsating seismic activity. “The idea is create a contemplative space that will help people be more responsive to the larger biological and seismological environment,” says Rogers, who grew up in the geologically active country of New Zealand. [read more]


Poetic Politics on the Los Angeles River

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Lewis MacAdams is a figure in Los Angeles River development. It was my pleasure to sit down and chat with him about the road he's taken to where he is now. It was a frank, straightforward, often irreverent conversation. It was a refreshing change from a lot of rhetoric. 


Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Yosuke Kitazawa
Published: 20 October 2014, KCET

Photo: KCET Departures

A godfather of the Los Angeles River, Lewis MacAdams is like the revered steelhead trout of the Los Angeles River, which swims to and fro freshwater rivers to saltwater oceans and back. A creature of multiple worlds, MacAdams is both poet and politician, but never quite one or the other.

"I've always struggled with being on the cusp of poetry and politics," says MacAdams, who just celebrated his seventh decade in this world this month, on October 12. [read more]


Radical Re-use

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

I hate to waste anything. This interview proves I'm not the only one. Businessman Damon Carson makes it his job to find new, unexpected uses for strange things. 


With his company, repurposedMATERIALS, Damon Carson comes up with creative ways to keep all sorts of unwanted stuff out of landfills

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Rob Brunner
Published: 25 September 2014, Fast Company

Of the three Rs in the classic green mantra "reduce, re-use, recycle," it’s the last that is most widely embraced. But despite its popularity, recycling is the least energy efficient alternative of the three. Damon Carson is more interested in the middle one. As founder of repurposedMATERIALS in Denver, Colorado, Carson has spent the last four years keeping millions of pounds of material out of the waste stream by finding creative re-uses for discarded industrial products. [read more]

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