Out the Window

Short personal videos are presented in the unusual context of the Los Angeles County Metro bus system, starting in the winter of 2011.  On Transit TV,  we show animations, documentaries, narratives and experimental videos about, by and in Los Angeles.

By sharing perspectives from individual households and neighborhoods to the city and region at large, Out the Window creates a mosaic of the many social, cultural, economic and creative layers of a complex American city.

Out the Window is a multi-phase project, with the first phase involving videos made by L.A. youth and the second, by artists, activists and storytellers.  The third phase will hopefully combine youth, artists and nonprofit organizations and will prove art can be everywhere.

A lofty yet sincere goal of Out the Window is to pierce the beige walls of anonymity as seen from the cursory, mobile platforms of the bus, delivering to bus riders the human faces behind the facades.



Phase One

Since Fall 2010, youth in Echo Park, Historic Filipinotown and East Los Angeles have been participating in a collaborative learning community, specifically designed to build digital media communication skills, including storytelling, technical media skills, social networking and critical thinking. Specifically, they are writing and producing two-minute videos exploring aspects of community and place, which will be seen on over 2,200 buses traversing Los Angeles County.


The videos were broadcast on Metro buses in February and June, 2011 and are archived on this website.  An interactive element of the project  allows bus riders to text responses to site-specific questions posed by community curators, artists and youths.

In this first phase of Out the Window, participants benefited from the leadership of four seasoned organizations in LA:

FREEWAVES manages Out the Window overall, including communications, marketing and the website, www.out-the-window.org. Freewaves facilitates dialogues by inventing new media exhibition forms at experimental and established venues throughout Los Angeles, often in public spaces, such as on electronic billboards, storefronts, public TV, online, even at museums.

Since 2002, ECHO PARK FILM CENTER has facilitated dozens of free film and video workshops for more than 1000 youths between the ages of 12 and 19. Neighborhood and community are often themes in their work.  Echo Park Film Center provide learning labs and digital media workshops at their Echo Park storefront and throughout the city via the EPFC Filmmobile, an eco-friendly film school and cinema on wheels.

PUBLIC MATTERS is an interdisciplinary California-based social enterprise comprised of artists, media professionals and educators. Public Matters designs and implements integrated new media, education and civic engagement projects that yield long-term community benefits. Public Matters’ work spans a broad range of constituents and concerns: community building, neighborhood identity, youth leadership, and public health.

UCLA REMAP is developing the project’s cultural civic computing systems in collaboration with Tezo Systems, operator of Transit TV, which provides GPS and WiFi-enabled content distribution to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro). Through research, production, and civic engagement, UCLA REMAP explores the culture and empowering social situations enabled by interweaving of engineering, the arts and community development.

The videos

The videos produced by youth working with Echo Park Film Center are called The Sound We See: A Los Angeles City Symphony. Participating teacher Angelo J. Pompano says, “City Symphonies are motion pictures that capture the spirit and uniqueness of a city by assembling images of everyday life in that city. These movies bombard our sight with (often quite surrealistic) images of a city in order to capture its heartbeat and expose its soul.”  Over twelve weeks, teens and their artist-teachers explore the origins of the City Symphony and its contemporary relevance as students create their own 24-hour cinematic celebration of the dynamic metropolis that is Los Angeles.

Public Matters is working with two groups of high school aged students. Students from the East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy are creating videos around healthy food access issues in their community including a series Have You Noticed? /Té Has Fijado? Students from Pdub Productions, a project in conjunction with Pilipino Workers Center, are creating pieces that explore Los Angeles’ Historic Filipinotown including a series entitled Hidden Hi Fi about the unknown, unexplored and unexpected facets of life in Historic Filipinotown. An additional series will explore the students’ own personal stories of immigration and migration.


Video screenings on the bus took place in February and June.

Phase Two

For the second phase of Out the Window, Freewaves will present two-minute artists-activists-storytellers’ videos about places and artists’ relationships to places throughout Los Angeles. These videos  (home, street, ‘hood) to show to I million riders per day on all 2,200 Metro buses in L.A. County in June and October-November, 2011.

Artists were selected by a five-member curatorial team responsible for selecting the work of sixty artists representative of the vast social, geographic, aesthetic and age spectrum of Los Angeles.

The videos will also be presented on this website, cross-referenced by locale and artist.  This is in anticipation of new technologies, making locative media a reality on Los Angeles’ public transit buses.

A lofty yet sincere goal of Out the Window is to pierce the beige walls of anonymity as seen from the cursory, mobile platforms of the bus, delivering to bus riders the human faces behind the facades.

The bus context

Greater Los Angeles has a wonderfully diverse population widely dispersed across its basin.  The transit buses crisscross its neighborhoods and social boundaries, passing unique, local cultural resources.  Out the Window targets where even the web doesn’t always reach.  Sixty-nine percent of Metro riders live in households making $26,000 or less a year.  We believe they represent a population less reached by the Internet and new media but who should be no less served by the innovations that have emerged in the last decade.  The videos produced for Out the Window are created with this complex audience in mind.

Out the Window is supported by a grant from the HASTAC Digital Media and Learning Competition.   www.dmlcompetition.net



Out The Window team (Phase One)

Freewaves: Anne Bray and Heidi Zeller
anne@freewaves.org 323.871.1950 www.freewaves.org

Echo Park Film Center: Lisa Marr and Paolo Davanzo
info@echoparkfilmcenter.org 213.484.8846 www.echoparkfilmcenter.org

Public Matters:  Mike Blockstein and Reanne Estrada
info@publicmattersgroup.com 323.953.0691 www.publicmattersgroup.com

UCLA REMAP:  Fabian Wagmister and Jeff Burke
fabian@ucla.edu 310.825.8698 http://remap.ucla.edu

Out The Window curatorial team (Phase Two)

Maryam Hosseinzadeh, a writer, collaborator and cultural planner

Karen Mack, Director of L.A. Commons, a public art organization

Adrian Rivas, Director and co-founder of g727 in Los Angeles

Jenn Su, artist and organizer

Paul Young, a writer, critic and video art curator at Young Projects

Out the Window is supported by grants from the HASTAC Digital Media and Learning Competition, The James Irvine Foundation, the California Arts Council, the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Getty Grant Program, and the Pasadena Art Alliance.