In April 2016, I directed the interviews and live action shooting for Agence Ter and Team’s redesign for Downtown Los Angeles’s Pershing Square. Their design was one of the final four in a larger Pershing Square Renew competition. The proposal was focused on a flat, democratic, and green design – one that would be timeless and open to new generations. Ultimately the team won, beating out the three other teams (including notable figures such as James Corner and Thom Mayne).
Now that Agence Ter has won, there is talk of me creating a larger video installation based on all of the remaining (and unused) interviews and city footage.
This video is an exploration, a conversation starter about the future of streets in LA. It’s indicative of a desire for a different experience of the city. An experience driven by two wheels rather than four. A design driven by very real issues of sustainability, livability, and affordability.
“Sankofa Says” is a place-based game that brings people together on the streets of Culver City as part of Indiecade 2014. To succeed, players join flash rallies at local landmarks, make phone calls to answer riddles about local history, and tell truth from neighborhood fiction.
Every adventure requires hitting the streets, meeting new people. Even locals will encounter a few surprises. With a little luck, you will discover strange cinema history, play with public art, and even help tell the story of Culver City yourself.
More on the game: http://www.sankofa.cc
More on our group: http://www.leimertphonecompany.net/
The Leimert Phone Company is a community design project in South Los Angeles. By repurposing payphones, the project seeks to reclaim public space and create cultural portals to local arts, music, and business. South LA is set to change over the next 10 years as planners focus on development around a new subway line through the area. In the face of possible gentrification, how can a community art project deepen neighborhood identity and broaden access to local business? Our collaborative team chose payphones as sites for public intervention and transmedia storytelling tied to justice.
The Leimert Phone team is composed of students from USC and local artists from Leimert Park. Through a 5-week workshop participants formed 3 project groups to develop unique designs. The workshop used rapid-prototyping and playtesting to facilitate lo-fi transmedia designs to share stories and access local music, history, artwork, and business. Each group presented their work on April 6, 2013 to local residents, students, and a panel of expert community organizers. The groups’ presentations included concept videos, detailed design handouts, visual mockups, and a hardware demo. Examples included a phone to play, download, and purchase tickets to local hip-hop acts. Other one sent you on a scavenger hunt to local businesses to collect stories and receive discounts. (Check out group videos http://leimertphonecompany.net/week-4-concept-videos/)
The Livingverse thesis project consisted of an interactive locative media project, a feature length documentary, and a research paper. The locative media tour used binaural recordings and archival audio/video to create an immersive narrative world to explore our contemporary global networked society through layering other historical places onto the architectural contours of the Digital Arts Research Lab at UCSC. Rather than presenting global networks through abstracted graphical representations of nodal relationships, the Livingverse project creates an interactive experience that directly engages the embodied perceptual and affective elements of the individual in relationship to these larger historical events and social transformations. Originally exhibited at the Things that are Possible DANM Thesis Show in 2010.
Lebenverse: Living Video Memory (2009, HDV 73mins)
The documentary analyzed the Gulf Wars, the Rodney King beating, and the Iranian “twitter revolution,” focusing on the emerging social formations and shifting power relations accompanying the proliferation of personal technologies. It was filmed across the US as I interviewed Gulf War veterans, LA Riot witnesses, and cultural studies scholars such as Marita Sturken, Hamid Naficy, and Alison Landsberg. The documentary was funded by the competitive UC Berkeley Human Rights Grant and was a collaborative research project with the Witness organization in New York.
Documentary focused on the development of Argentina’s post-traumatic history after the dictatorship of 1976-83, particularly on the role of film production in the construction of national memory and recovery. The documentary maps the general trajectory of increasingly nuanced and complex filmic representations, while contextualizing each film’s production within the shifting and often contradictory political discourses surrounding that traumatic period. Funded by Ohio State Honors Research Grant and International Affairs Grant.
The ongoing video series is part of a commitment to political activism and community participation. The documentation helps present a movement structured around alternative forms of democratic participation. The concept of the General Assembly within the Occupy movement is an inclusive consensus-building model of participation that has become a statement against the failed and corrupt representative republic of the US government. Because of its inclusivity as well as its critique against government corruption and unrestricted global capitalism, the Occupy groups have come under increasing media attacks and governmental crackdowns.