Out the Window
Freewaves, Public Matters, Echo Park Film Center and UCLA REMAP broadcast videos about Los Angeles on 2,200 buses
Los Angeles, Calif. – Through short-form videos, presented across the entire Los Angeles County Metro bus system, Out the Window shares diverse perspectives on Los Angeles, as seen through the creative eyes of its young people. The project links physical and virtual worlds through digital media portraits of places, offering views from the level of individual households and neighborhoods up to the city and region at large. Out the Window aims to create a mosaic of the many social, cultural, economic and creative layers of a complex American city.
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 will be broadcast on Metro buses in April 2011 and will be archived on the project website, www.out-the-window.org. Additionally, the website will provide resources, like a map of area media art centers where anyone can learn how to create digital media and ways to comment and submit videos for future screenings on the buses. Bus riders can text responses to site-specific questions posed by community curators, artists and youths.
“Place is the new conundrum. The youth in Out the Window will examine this subject anew and we will set it in the local bus network, which services 1.2 million daily riders. We hope the videos become conversation pieces among fellow riders, the people they see but don’t necessarily talk to every day on their commutes to work or school,” says Anne Bray, Executive Director of Freewaves, LA’s public media arts organization.
Out the Window participants will benefit 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 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.
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.
A Youtube video shows the program in advance of its existence when it was called Metrovoice.
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Video screenings on the bus will take place in April. 2-minute videos will appear one per hour, every hour. For information about how to watch the videos, or to watch them online, visit www.out-the-window.org.
Out the Window is supported by a grant from the HASTAC Digital Media and Learning Competition. www.dmlcompetition.net