All Aboard! Student Art Finds Its Way to TransitTV

Have You Noticed How Far You Have To Go To Get To A Supermarket? from anne@freewaves.org on Vimeo.

If you’ve ridden a Metro bus in Greater Los Angeles, you’ve seen them.  Those weird tv’s which either seem to be stuck at a blasting volume or completely muted, playing a mix of mind numbing trivia, local public interest news, or advertisements.  Purchasing some time on TransitTV is a pretty cost effective way to get out a message, when you consider that 2 million people ride Metro buses every day.  But most Metro riders find the televisions to be a waste of space at best, noise pollution at worst.

Thanks to a new art video series, “Out the Window” is seeking to change that.  Instead of streaming the odd mix of paid programming, Transit TV will devote some time to streaming video art.

From June 13 through the 17th, the films will run once an hour, but on the 18th and 19th, the films will run for 45 out of every 60 minutes.  All of the showings on Transit TV are being donated by the company.

The videos were produced by a team of 75 local high school students working with artists and teachers at Echo Park Film Center and with Public Matters at East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy and Pilipino Workers Center; coordinated by Freewaves with the conceptual and technical direction of UCLA REMAP.

Heidi Zeller, with Freewaves, explains how the video series is actually an interactive art experience. “Out the Window adds a little something different to the bus riding experience in LA. Some of the videos share poetic visions of the city while others offer insightful critiques. All of them end with questions that viewers can respond to via text. We want to get a citywide dialogue going! What are the possibilities for LA? To participate in this conversation just ride the bus armed with a cell phone. Answers will be posted on our blog.”

The above video is part of a series called “Have You Noticed” which has posted three videos to Vimeo already.  Students from the East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy created the series with Public Matters around healthy food access issues in their community?  As you can see, the videos aren’t heavy on conversation, but focus the viewers attention on the screens with some reading of printed text and a donated by compelling soundtrack.

In addition to “Have You Noticed How Far You Have to Go to Get to a Supermarket,” you can also view “Have You Noticed How Much Junk Food We Eat” and “Have You Noticed How Often We Eat Fast Food” at Vimeo.

Other video series that will be running include Hidden Hi Fi, students’ lives in Filipinotown including experiences with migration and immigration and The Sound We See: A Los Angeles City Symphony, an exploration of the “urban symphony” of sound in Los Angeles.

“Place is the new identity politics. The youth in Out the Window examine this subject anew hopefully in
dialogue with fellow commuters, 91% of who say they like art,” says Anne Bray, Executive Director of
Freewaves, LA’s public media arts organization.

If you don’t ride the bus, or don’t ride it enough, and want to catch all of the films, there will be a public screening on Sunday June 12, 3 pm at Inner City Arts, followed by a reception at 720 Kohler St in downtown LA near Central and 7th Streets.

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