Project 9

THE TEN EVENTS THAT CHANGED LOS ANGELES CULTURE

Los Angeles has emerged as a creative crucible in recent years. It has produced or embraced a number of artists who – a generation earlier – might have left for the art centres of New York or Europe.

What are the events that have transformed Los Angeles culture? I am interested in looking across the arts spectrum at exhibitions and visual arts practice, architecture and performances in theatre, music, dance, cross-art to generate debate on this issue. Some questions worth exploring are what is unique about LA culture, how and why has it developed in the way it has? Who are the artists that have shaped the city? Is there a building, an image, a performance that continues to resonate and why?

This project addresses some of the desirable gaols outlined in your email. In particular, it maintains the focus on Los Angeles culture and arts, as previous fellowships have, but the proposal is “portable”. Fellows can take the idea back to their own towns/beats etc and do a local version, drawing on the experiences of this project.

It lends itself to collaboration. There are several ways to carve up this project. For example, the first intake of fellows could begin the project by getting up the first five events and hand over to the second intake to develop the second five. Alternatively the first intake could draw up the 10 events, and the second intake could extend it.

The project could build on the engine28 pop-up newsroom through a series of features, online interviews, images, blogs, tweets and an overview piece. We could, for example, profile a number of artists involved using multi-media platforms.

The project should generate some heat. People love to argue about what should and should not be on such a list. An online forum is one way to encourage this debate, as is social media. This proposal could be considered as part of the audience/community engagement, innovative technology or new forms of story-telling categories outlined in your email.

The fellowship coincides with the Pacific Standard Time project, which runs from October to April 2012, in which various cultural institutions will reflect on the post- World War II emergence of the LA art scene. This could be a useful vehicle from which to draw. We can cherry-pick some of these events, play with new ways of story-telling while creating an arts journalism project that can be extended and transplanted.

My project should allow fellows to develop new-media skills, deepen their understanding of LA culture and go home having created a lively collaborative project.