An off-site project by Santiago Borja for the Neutra VDL Research House II

Maddalena Forcella, El Camino de los Altos Cooperative


November 17 – December 22, 2010
Neutra VDL Research House II
2300 Silver Lake Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90039

Opening Reception
Wednesday, November 17, 2010 5pm - 8pm

Los Angeles – g727 presents FORT DA // SAMPLER, a site-specific installation by Mexico City-based artist Santiago Borja. For this project, Borja sets up an architectural intervention to encourage new readings of the frequently elusive nature of “magical thinking” embedded into Modernism. Reinterpreting the modernist vision of Austrian-born and Los Angeles-based architect Richard Neutra, the artist transforms the influential designer’s family home, known as the VDL Research House II, into a temporary functional textile loom design by Santiago’s team of collaborators, comprised of expert weavers from Chiapas, Mexico. The project grows from the formal similarities in between modern abstract geometry and Mayan patterning that represents the cosmos.

The installation title comes from Borja’s study of Freud’s “Fort / Da” theory, based on a child’s game of throwing a wooden reel attached to a string over a ledge until it disappears and then retrieving it. Freud theorized this game of disappearance and return as a way to view how the child manages his anxiety about the absence of his mother. Borja takes this theory further by interpreting it as a way of creating space, envisioning the act of throwing the reel as a way to visually and physically connect with a distant place.

Vis-à-vis this construct is the process of textile making in Chiapas, Mexico, where a young apprentice establishes her own identity as a textile maker through the creation of her first textile piece, a Sampler. The process of weaving and embroidering the Sampler is the connector between past, present, and future textile processes, creating a continuous dialogue with the cosmic and natural world around them.

About the Artist
Santiago Borja has a Bachelor Degree in Architecture from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico and a Master on Theory and Practice of Contemporary Art and New Media from Université Paris 8.

Recent projects include Divan, Freud Museum, London, May 2010; In the Shadow of the Sun, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dècalage, Museo Experimental El Eco, Mexico City, 2009; and Halo, Pavilion Le Corbusier, Foundation Suisse, CIUP, Paris, 2008.

Collaborators and Sponsors

Maddalena Forcella

El Camino de los Altos Cooperative 

Fundación/ Colección Jumex

SNCA-FONCA Conaculta

Sarah Lorenzen of Neutra VDL Research House II

Big City Forum

Additional Programming
g727 Textile District Tour and Roundtable Discussion
Date: To be announced on

Downtown Los Angeles Textile District Tour will be followed by a roundtable discussion at g727.  For more information please email us at: