GARAGE


Olivia Erlanger and Luis Ortega Govela

Garage is both a book (available here) and a documentary.

Frank Lloyd Wright invented the garage when he moved the automobile out of the stable into a room of its own. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (allegedly) started Apple Computers in a garage. Suburban men turned garages into man caves to escape from family life. Nirvana and No Doubt played their first chords as garage bands. The garage began as an architectural technology and became a cultural construct. In this provocative history and deconstruction of an American icon, Olivia Erlanger and Luis Ortega Govela use the garage as a lens through which to view the advent of suburbia, the myth of the perfect family, and the distortion of the American dream into delusion.

The stories of what happened in these garages became self-fulfilling prophecies the more they were repeated. Hewlett-Packard was founded in a garage that now bears a plaque: The Birthplace of Silicon Valley.  Also conceived in a garage: the toy company Mattel, creator of Barbie, the postwar, posthuman representation of American women. Garages became guest rooms, game rooms, home gyms, wine cellars, and secret bondage lairs,  a no-commute destination for makers and DIYers—surfboard designers, ski makers, pet keepers, flannel-wearing musicians, weed-growing nuns. The garage was an aboveground underground, offering both a safe space for withdrawal and a stage for participation—opportunities for isolation or and empowerment.

(available for purchase)