Ten – digitdigit

I am using my hands and digital tools in equal measure, which seems appropriate for the beginning of the double-digit weeks of the project.

Ben thinks my project is about place.

It is, and it isn’t as well. It is about a place like Frankenstein is about a monster, or The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is about a badly made closet – well that is taking it too far. It is a lot about Los Angeles, but – to me, and at times we get too close to a project – it is about truth, fact, fiction, and myth. And that all stories, all facts are subjective, but it is also based on Los Angeles, Ben’s observation is correct, but I think this project would also work in any other city. Los Angeles’s unique position as the defacto global producer of fiction via its film studios is, of course, something that cannot be ignored.

I followed Ben’s advice as an exercise and posed a specific topic and question to a number of fairly diverse individuals. What would Los Angeles be if there were no Hollywood? Are there current realities that only exist due to prior fictional references in Movies? The reactions and responses varied somewhat and ran the gamut from in-depth historical chaos-theory, a butterfly-effect-driven complete dismantling of Los Angeles as a place or concept, through a resigned impossibility to contemplate, to glib remarks about Walk-of-Fame stars being used as social distancing markers. And while different in response, style and tone, they all stem from perhaps one place that while none of the respondents is directly employed by the film industry, and none of them has overt ties to it, nor much love for the industry, all Angelenos know that it is a huge part of the city’s DNA. Like Mulholland’s aqueduct, it can be simultaneously invisible and impossible to overlook.

I am ambivalent about Ben’s belief that the project must have a system for the collection of the words. Sometimes, I agree quite strongly, other times, I want a system that allows for a more organic collection of genuine and arbitrary writings. Hollywood’s influence on its inhabitants is not so much implied as it is guaranteed to be baked in, and yet our lives on a granular level are do not seem affected by it. Further, I want to avoid if possible the influence on participants.

An assistant producer once shared with me how they script reality shows and manipulate the characters. they are not told what to say, they are not led to believe that there are multiple takes, instead, the assistant producers et al masquerade as quasi-friends and therapists and encourage them to maybe express themselves differently until the director gets the take he needs to move the story along in this alleged reality. this stuck with me, that even the smallest influence can change a behaviour or a belief.

Additional participants found
Mexican artist
trans filipino
Asian American photographer

Current plan
Compile the writings
assemble materials
order screens
order prints
write an essay

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