Mussel Beach navigates the past, present, and future of Muscle Beach, California, by looking at mussels. Conceived as a series of site-specific interventions, performances and a guided audio walk, Mussel Beach delves into a holistic health model for the human body, the body of the mussels, and the body of the city of Los Angeles.
Shifting between Muscles and Mussels the project tells lesser-known coastal episodes taking mussels as the main protagonists of metabolic processes: filter feeders that clean seawater by breathing. Active ‘digestive machines’ that capture and break down pollutants, they are used in Mussel Beach to explore the diverse ecologies of Venice Beach and how to improve the state of life–human and nonhuman–in the city at large.
These visions unpack how oiled muscles overtook salt-watered mussels; how shaping biceps, butts, pecs, traps, and triceps is deeply entwined with mussels, barnacles, oysters, and clams. They all call us to pay attention to mussels, but also to grow your mussels. CLIMAVORE encouraged participants of Mussel Beach to be shellfish!
In exploring Mussel Beach one encountered a series of site-specific interventions: a Mussel Taco eatery, Mussel Beach t-shirts and merchandise, performances by local skaters wearing mussel shell outfits and a collaboration with Muscle Beach Nutrition to offer Mussel Beach protein shakes for your muscles, and your mussels.
At the heart of Mussel Beach a terrazzo sculptural piece made out of mussel shells, inspired by Clifton’s sidewalk terrazzo in downtown LA, provided a contemporary interpretation of visions for the Californian economy in the 1940s. If a century ago, oil, cinema, and tourism were at the forefront; today California can reimagine its coastal horizons through the eyes of mussels: as new protein sources, water treatment, innovative building materials, or human surgery applications.