The 14th Factory is a monumental, multiple-media art installation that will transform an empty industrial warehouse near downtown Los Angeles into a mythic universe created collaboratively through video, installation, sculpture, sound, paintings, and live performance. The 14th Factory weaves together elements of popular culture–science fiction, punk music, graphic novels, and film–with critical re-examinations of social and historical narratives, especially interconnections between East and West. Conceived by Hong Kong-based British artist Simon Birch, the vision of The 14th Factory is to create a new, independent paradigm for socially-engaged art, a kind of guerilla action where art occupies and re-energizes underutilized or even derelict urban spaces and gifts them back to the community in the form of a transformative experience.
Throughout its run, the project will feature collaborative works by a global community of interdisciplinary artists representing Greater China, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. Entering The 14th Factory, the visitor becomes a central player in a contemporary hero’s journey, leaving the ordinary world behind and setting out on a voyage of adventure and, ultimately, of transformation. Along the way, the journeyer gathers allies, encounters obstacles and battles adversaries, until reaching the challenge and the ultimate prize: A gift that can be passed on to all.
With fourteen large-scale collaborative works, The 14th Factory alludes to its historical roots in the “Thirteen Factories” of the Canton region in eighteenth century China, during which designated trading quarters formed a culturally and heterogeneous establishment for European and Chinese traders. Birch’s imagined Fourteenth Factory aims to to open up a new alternative space of collaboration, production and transformation, that moves beyond the old divisions of the world into singular histories, and new mechanisms for the molding of the future.