Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl
If you ever wished you could combine a haunted Halloween funhouse with a large-scale multi-media international modern art installation (minus the chainsaws and hulking guys in masks breathing down your neck), your wish has finally come true. Full of thrilling discoveries and suspense around each new darkened corner, The 14th Factory is an art-lover’s moody paradise—combining video, sound design and both static and interactive immersive environments to create an art experience truly unlike any other.
Envisioned by British-born, Hong Kong-based artist Simon Birch in collaboration with global artists from China, Hong Kong, the US, the UK and Canada, The 14th Factory asks you to step inside a nondescript seemingly abandoned warehouse located in a forgotten part of Los Angeles and follow the path it leads you down…armed with little more than the promise of experiencing a Hero’s Journey. The black box entrance greets you with a brief introduction written on the walls where you are handed a map and then let loose to discover what secrets await.
Funneling onto the darkened path, your eyes strain to adjust and find your way through the first few stops. In the blackened quiet, you become aware of sounds ringing out from somewhere—knocks and cracks echoing from an unknown faraway chamber. The familiar eerie feeling of the haunted funhouse begins to settle in as you enter into Phase One of the Hero’s Journey, passing by a painting of a man covering his own eyes with an illuminated chain hanging just beyond him. A light beckons further ahead at the end of a long dark tunnel, revealing upon approach a moving mandala made up of men—twisting, turning, contorting into the most exquisite shapes, at once tortuously pained and breathtakingly beautiful. Much like man itself. Mesmerizing, meditative and utterly hypnotic, you could easily stay here all day. But a Hero’s Journey can never stop at the very beginning and there is so much more to see. So onwards you go…
And here we take a pause. As with so many of these immersive art experiences, our honest recommendation is to go in knowing as little as possible so you can allow it all to be a true discovery in the moment. The more unprepared you are, the better. The only things you really need to know are the how-to facts. The exhibit runs Tues-Sun mornings into evenings through the end of May (exact times vary by day). Tickets are around $20 after processing fees and should be purchased in advance. It’s best to get there on the earlier side when there are less people so you can have more of the place to yourself. Neighborhood parking is not great but valet is available for $15. All pertinent info is available HERE.
If you don’t mind visual spoilers, you can scroll through the photos here. But just trust us and go immerse yourself in the full experience. Take time with each stop along the way, especially with the video installations. They have an unexpected way of working on you that require your patience and focused attention. Sit still and soak them in longer than you normally would and notice what begins to open up in you. At the end of the road, who knows? You might just find your own transformation…
If you are interested in joining us for our organized Sirens & Scoundrels field trip to The 14th Factory this month, be sure to email us at: email@example.com. We’ll enjoy an afternoon of soaking up art followed by a delicious meal in DTLA!
Contributing Photography by Christina Huntington // Video by Katie Hilliard & Christina Huntington
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