create / 2014

Los Angeles Media Lab

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Experimental Half-Hour

Start a media lab that functions as a hybrid between a public access TV station and an A/V production facility that fosters community.


Please describe yourself.

Collaboration (partners are signed up and ready to hit the ground running!)

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.

Start a media lab that functions as a hybrid between a public access TV station and an A/V production facility that fosters community.

Does your project impact Los Angeles County?

Yes (benefits a region of LA County)

Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit?

  • Central LA
  • East LA

What is your idea/project in more detail?

The LA Media lab serves primarily as a public access station. The secondary purpose is to provide a workspace for artists and the local community to engage and showcase their work. The third function of the center is to host a variety of workshops that range from the basic principles of television production to more hands-on skilled media production methods. Workshops will include lighting for television, video synthesis, photography, live sound recording, and animation. Our own project Experimental Half-Hour has developed and united a growing network of amateur and professional artists, videographers, and musicians eager to access a center like the one we propose to facilitate.

What will you do to implement this idea/project?

We have already began to implement the foundation of our plan through building a mobile studio, hosting live television tapings, teaching A/V workshops, and collaborating with local artists. We are adept with both the professional equipment and support skills needed to create a public forum accessible to children, artists, and people from the local community interested in working with media and video.

We will select a centrally-located space in Los Angeles to serve as a broadcast center. Our vision is to build two TV studios: one housing a traditional three-camera setup, which allows more complex tapings and visual effects. The other will be a smaller studio serving more intimate video tapings. Several adjacent multi-use rooms will serve as classrooms for youth education and training for emerging and established professionals, with public workshops, and in-house artist studios and residencies. Through the media lab’s outreach and workshops, community members will be trained in how to operate equipment and develop the audiovisual storytelling techniques necessary to realize their vision.

Geographic selection of the space will focus on the eastside of Los Angeles, a region underserved with local resources, rich with cost-effective space, and located at a demographic cross-section. Within our rental budget we can procure a space both proportionate to meet the needs of our facility and centrally accessible to the diverse communities we will serve.

How will your idea/project help make LA the best place to CREATE today? In 2050?

By creating a publicly-available media lab we will enrich the community through active participation in events, tapings, and broadcasting. The lab will serve as a hub for Los Angeles audio and video culture both through providing the end-product, and through serving as a central meeting point placing exhibition space and artistic disciplines in context with a larger community.

It will reconnect the community to lacking resources by providing a facility specialized to meet a number of activities. Hosting residencies for guest artists will further aid in diversifying our growing creative community - allowing interaction with and exposure to working artists in Los Angeles as well as international artists working in alternative media. Giving the local community exposure to artists and resources has a myriad of beneficial social, cultural and economic effects. The center we propose to establish will enable local community members and children to gain valuable skills and resources to prepare them for a lifetime of creative work in digital media. Additionally, our media lab would allow skilled artists to employ their professional training for use on a community level.

There is a lack of access to public media resources to an ever technological oriented culture that we hope to account for through our center. Our media labs will fill a broad variety of needs: as a way for people to inform each other and express their specific voices about their local community needs; as a way for people to engage with their own community on a grassroots level; as a way to give marginalized voices in the community a sense of agency; and as a way for the community to produce work using professional media equipment that is otherwise out of range. Our center will help to produce videos that community members want to share with the rest of LA.

Whom will your project benefit?

Through the establishment of a media lab we will take what our city is notorious for— media production— and decentralize it into an everyday act artists from across Los Angeles can participate in. By moving media production away from only being in the realm of large corporations and into the hands of the artistic and local community we will establish LA as a vanguard for multimedia art production and groundbreaking exhibitions.

Our center will positively reach a range of people. It will benefit local artists through allowing access to video technology that is otherwise limited to institutions or commercial ventures. It will provide a space for them to experiment with new ideas and work. It will benefit community members curious to further their knowledge of video and digitized forms - those interested to produce their own media, whether it’s a vlog, television show or video installation. It will positively impact the local youth because it will offer an inspiring, exciting, and professional environment where one can be exposed to the infinite possibilities that video technologies and multimedia artists have to offer.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

Pasadena Arts Council Artists Ghosting.TV KXLU Dublab KCHUNG TV GYST Radio

We have worked with each of the partners listed above and each brings a unique element to the project through their individual strengths. The Pasadena Arts Council will serve as the fiscal sponsor for this project and is the current fiscal sponsor for Experimental Half-Hour. Ghosting.TV is LA’s premier monthly artist hang-out and screening series of cutting edge video art and animation. Through the use of our media lab’s space they will be able to expand their reach to a growing audience and continue to host visiting artists to present their work. Through our collaborations with DJs at LA based FM radio station KXLU, we look forward to having a more consolidated space to host events and remote broadcasts. Dublab is a non-profit web radio collective that has been broadcasting independently since 1999. They curate shows and host video screenings - sharing a vision very much aligned to ours. A broader space for us would facilitate more productions for our collaboration[s] and would benefit not only the scope of their programming, but the local television and media platforms in LA. For the UCLA Hammer Museum’s 2014 Made in L.A. biennial exhibition, KChung Radio launched its subsidiary television network KChung TV and hired Experimental Half-Hour as video technical producers to help realize their project. We loaned them our mobile studio system and trained KChung volunteers to use the equipment so they could produce their own series of variety shows. GYST Ink is an artist-run company providing information, technology and solutions created by artists for artists. GYST would be able to use the video technologies to broaden their journalistic coverage of the arts community.

How will your project impact the LA2050 “Create” metrics?

  • Employment in creative industries
  • Arts establishments per capita
  • Minority- and women-owned firms
  • Measures of cultural and global economic influence (“soft power”) (Dream Metric)
  • Recruiting and retention rates at local higher education institutions (Dream Metric)
  • Percentage of graduates from local higher education institutions that remain in LA County 5 years after graduating (Dream Metric)

Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.

The skills we would offer to the local community are very valuable in creative industries. Los Angeles is the destination city for media production and because of this our media lab will contribute to creating a more empowered and skilled workforce in LA.

Artists in LA need more venues in which to showcase their work and engage with the local community. They also need access to broader resources. With the media lab, it will be more feasible for artists to undertake projects that would have been out of their reach due to the limitations of technical resources.

The organization of Experimental Half-Hour is directed by a first generation Mexican American woman. We hope to give more minorities and women access and skills in the media production field through outreach and skill building.

The media lab will provide opportunities to less advantaged minority groups and artists. It will help to make Los Angeles synonymous with growing artistic and community cultural influence.

Youth attending workshop classes will be more capable of enrolling in film and media programs at universities.

The media lab will provide a foundation of resources for recent graduates and encourage them to stay in Los Angeles.

By the very creation of the media lab, Los Angeles will become a better place by teaching use of equipment that artists and the community would not have otherwise accessed, connecting liked-minded community members, increasing participation in local arts, and providing entertainment through the production of multimedia art.

LA will LEARN the power of media through outreach, classes, and summer youth video camps.

LA will CONNECT through community participation and viewership of original community TV.

LA will become a more vibrant place to live through the interaction and give opportunity to PLAY through increased arts awareness.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.

Participants in the first year

Exhibitions Held

Measurable press from events and exhibitions

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?

Having a public community station is important. When we lived in Portland we saw the impact that it had in the community there. Whether talking about social issues or making creative videos the media center provide a hub for people of all class, viewpoint, ethnicity, religion, and aesthetic.

Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.

We currently have a three camera mobile HD TV studio, however we lack a permanent home and studio to be based out of. With the monetary support from the LA 2050 Goals grant we will be able to secure a location immediately, build out the space, and start planning the public programming for the year. The project is fully achievable once a space is leased. Half of the equipment has been purchased and we have several community organizations on-board to contribute to the initial startup of the facility.

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?

Our biggest barriers are space and money. We need funding to rent and outfit a space to better serve the community. In order to account for our lack of a consolidated space, we’ve had to host events in site specific places. While this has been good, we think that a permanent space would allow us a broader range of programming as well as allowing us to be able to realize our specific vision. We’ve been able to hold fundraisers for past projects and events. This space would allow some leeway to focus on fundraising efforts because so far we have been dealing with finding a space as well as fundraising.

What resources does your project need?

  • Network/relationship support
  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)
  • Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)