Ghosted: The Horton Principle

Ghosted: The Horton Principle

San Diego, CA ― The Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation in conjunction with the Southern California arts and culture duo ARATA are pleased to present Ghosted: The Horton Principle, an engaging exhibit that explores the legacy and possibility of Horton Plaza, architect Jon Jerde’s 1985 Postmodern urban mall.

Who killed Horton Plaza? Who pulled the plug? Was it us: thumbs up, thumbs down? Horton Plaza died while nobody was looking. Dead Mall. We recognize the term. And yet we were just there a little while back. We remember being playfully lost just as Ray Bradbury prophesized. We remember arriving in our cars to the pastel fruit signs of the parking lot (not an original design feature,) making our way out into the retail carnival, exploring the topsy-turvy ‘hilltown’ spaces, and the disorienting journey back to the car. Medieval San Diego. A place that never happened?

Ghosting, where one breaks off all communication and contact without justification, is a commonplace phenomenon now in 2019 and we wonder: is it possible to ghost a built environment? Have we ghosted Horton Plaza? The Horton Principle is a concept that comes to us from the world of cryptography, the study and practice of secure communication. The principle is that if you truly wish to understand a message you must pay attention to not just what is being said, but also just as importantly to what is meant. Crack the code, solve the mystery. The Horton Principle encourages us to enter this exhibit not as passive observers but as active participants.

The exhibit is organized around a series of photographs, texts, and a video installation that certainly say something. But the question of importance: what does it all mean? If we are to understand the ghost and its significance we need to figure out how to make sense of what is here in the exhibit space. Piece together the clues. And figure out: what happened here?

As a part of our collective attempt to weave together the story of Horton Plaza we encourage all exhibit visitors to bring their own evidence and leave it with us at the museum to take care of and file in the archives: photographs, sources, forensic clues, anything that might shine a light or shadow on what could have happened. Only together may we be able to write the mystery.

Meet our guest Curators: 

Jason Araújo is an Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellow and PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles. His work as a scholar investigates the rich and sometimes lopsided relationship between France and Latin America, specifically the River Plate region, over the course of the long 19th century. This work leverages several important theoretical frameworks including theories of translation, post-coloniality, and the ever-elusive nature of genre. A San Diego native, he has been fascinated by California history since he returned from nearly three years of undergraduate study in Paris, France in 2007. In 2017 he and his collaborator Philip co-founded the arts and culture duo ARATA, an organization that aspires to present multidisciplinary work with the goal of sharing important stories about the Calfornias. 

Philip Salata is a multimedia artist with a foundation in literature, performance, and more recently photography. After his B.A. in Modern Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Philip joined the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards, an international center for research in performance based in Pontedera, Italy. There as a performer and pedagogue (2008-2014) he focused on the creation of contemporary theatre work based on traditional performance craft, a form of research that borrowed from disciplines of social study, though more importantly focused on the relationship between self and one’s community. Upon returning to California he and Jason co-founded ARATA, basically a history circus.

Learn more about the project:  Ghosting: The Horton Principle