The Slatter’s Court Project
Experimental Documentary Project
Music by Ellen Fullman + Konrad Sprenger, Keith Cary, Luciano Chessa, Karen Vanhercke, Zach Mccaffery, Jennifer Radtke, Obo Martin and Terry Berlier
“Slatter’s Court started life as a motel serving the old Lincoln highway. The auto camp closed and a community emerged even though (make that because) this remained a place of transition.
Slatter’s probably qualifies as a ‘heterotopia’- a counter-arrangement within the ‘normal’ organization of a studiously normal town. Slatter’s accommodates people who don’t match the norms of college-town living; Slatter’s residents are pretty typical Californians.
Slatter’s Court casts a little shade in California’s sunny expanse of property development. Californians by-passed by the Equity Rush have to live somewhere, and some are comfortable with this. As the Slatter’s Court documentary project asks what criteria are employed when somewhere is officially designated “blight”, it gently levers the lid on the conservatism of a liberal town (liberal ordinariness is an exclusive commodity in California). Compassion shouldn’t come into a discussion of Slatter’s fate: cut Slatter’s, and the City of Davis cuts itself.
All representations are artificial, but I think the Slatter’s project does the most honest job possible. It avoids the ‘heroism’ that besets many artistic adventures into urban activism. The organizers collected the pictures, thought and biographies of other residents as though they were postcards to send to the rest of town.
To a great extent places exist through representation. Looking at this, even the residents of Slatter’s Court might have been startled to witness Slatter’s existence. This documentation affirms that Slatter’s Court is a close neighbor, physically and figuratively, to the center of town.” –Simon Sadler
Simon Sadler is Professor of Architectural and Urban History, Director of the Program in Art History, and Chancellor’s Fellow at University of California, Davis