Project Team: Erin Besler, Ian Besler
Exhibition Curators: Jia Gu, Courtney Coffman
A miniature golf hole as a modular landscape that emerges from an interest in the design and marketing of golfing equipment and leisure goods as intellectual property. The design process entailed collecting and reading documents that have been filed with the U.S. Patent Office for consumer goods related to golf, miniature golf, training devices for both, and fabrication and manufacturing details about the artificial turf meant to simulate the appearance and playing surface of natural grass. Over the past century, with the rise of conspicuous consumption, these patent documents have painstakingly captured the work of designers, chemists, and engineers to recreate the look and feel of natural grass and landscape hazards in a convincing manner and using affordable materials and manufacturing methods.
“Practice Mat” is a miniature golf hole as a kind of reproduction of a patent: filed on by Donald J. Palmer, Mark L. Palmer, and Irwin A. Breinin for a “Practice Putting Surface.” The invention is both practical and modest, and also funny. As the abstract from the patent filing poetically elucidates:
“A practice putting surface for indoor and outdoor use by a golfer having a plurality of individual putting sections of identical rectangular configuration, each section having four sides and a base portion with upper and lower surfaces, some with raised and/or depressed surfaces…”
When regularized into square component parts, the miniatute gold hole can be subject to edits and customizations by the golfer. Of course, in the domestic or practice context, it makes sense that a golf hole would be collapsible, storable, and rearrangeable through use of modular fittings. The work seeks to explore the participatory opportunities it might open up as part of the installation, as well as the connection to the idea of Los Angeles as a city of component parts. Famously, or infamously, LA is a city without a center, an amalgamation of different neighborhoods and regions. How we each navigate and arrange ourselves within these sections of the city ends up informing our understanding of it.
Image courtesy: Materials & Applications