Pop artist Ed Ruscha paints pictures; Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis sings songs. But they both create art through the medium of words, and that common ground alone makes for lively conversation.
Pacific Standard Time, a Los Angeles-wide art initiative celebrating the birth of the city's art scene, released a video interview-meets-artwork starring Kiedis and Ruscha. As the conversation gains momentum, the men's words begin to take on a life of their own. Ruscha mentions the peculiarities of the word "So" and there it is, on the screen, showing off its material properties stripped of conversational meaning, allowing viewers to admire the allure of their shape and the silliness of their sounds.
"Sometimes I don't know whether I am painting pictures of words or painting pictures with words," Ruscha remarks, and the viewer feels a bit of this disorientation in the video's captions.
Their car-ride conversation echoes some of the magic of Los Angeles -- casual, nonchalant and sometimes bordering on childlike. Layered images of Sunset Boulevard's neon signs glimmer outside the car windows as Kiedis and Ruscha reminisce about the city that never grows up. The California duo perfectly predicts the mood of Pacific Standard Time, which will capture every major LA art movement from 1945 to 1980. The shows, which begin in October, promise to be part of a major moment in Los Angeles art history in their own right. In the meantime, watch two California legends lose themselves in the language of Los Angeles.