Soft grey light drifts over the city in the fall, but swathes of bright sunshine remain. Which city we are talking about is up in the air: Venice, Culver, Hollywood. Everything is battered, but the strength of certain concepts remain: freedom, abundance, modernity. Objects, structures, through-routes are patina-glossed, faded, potholed: as though the sea had claimed them then returned them to the shore, repeatedly. Washed-out. Signs proclaiming the importance of peace, love and multicultural ways of seeing decorate the houses near to Venice Beach. This frayed thread of America, trembling in the sea breeze, seems closer than most to the American Dream, till you remember some other key things: the homeless, the backstreets empty of pedestrians, those who moved away as gentrification set in. Interim zones of Los Angeles: mercurial, calm, glinting.