By Rachel Paprocki

From the windows on the upper floors of David Allan Hubbard Library, Fuller seminarians can peer across Union Street into the balconies of the Pasadena Museum of California Art, whose wide inside gallery spaces offer the eyes visual respite from row after row of written word, replacing literary inspiration with another kind of muse. The local flavor of PMCA’s offerings returns a Fuller viewer to the here and now, back from the caves of Qumran to greater Los Angeles.

Bia Gayotto's videon installation "Somewhere in Between: Los Angeles."

Bia Gayotto’s videon installation “Somewhere in Between: Los Angeles.” (Photo credit: Kristen Chang. Courtesy of the Pasadena Museum of California Art.)

On display through January 5, 2014, Los Angeles-based video artist Bia Gayotto’s Somewhere in Between: Los Angeles is a video essay on the multicultural life that springs up along historic Route 66. Moving from the mountains to the sea, Gayotto features the inhabitants and cityscape of fourteen locations between Pasadena and Santa Monica. A persistent open call yielded self-identifying bi- or multi-cultural Angelenos willing to be interviewed and filmed by Gayotto in their natural habitats. Gayotto says it took months for the open call to yield the project’s full requirement of participants, with the result that “the city is representing itself.”

“I’m really emotionally connected with everybody,” says Gayotto of the video installation’s participants. Through interviews conducted at PMCA prior to filming, Gayotto gathered a group representative of Los Angeles’ diverse national, racial and sexual identities. She calls the interview process a therapeutic one and vital to the integrative nature of the project.

Bia Gayotto with composer Kubilay Uner.

Bia Gayotto with composer Kubilay Uner. (Photo credit: Don Milici. Courtesy of the Pasadena Museum of California Art.)

“I like to interweave and make a tapestry of places and people,” Gayotto says. This goal is reflected in the form of the video installation. Somewhere in Between: Los Angeles is comprised of two simultaneous video projections onto side-by-side, slightly inward-angled screens suspended at eye level in the center of the room. The installation gives formal reference to biculturalism, while also juxtaposing people and environment, people and technology, people and other people. The projected scenes alternate between focusing on an individual participant and centering on their particular neighborhood environment, carrying a conversation between the two panels that captures something of the rhythm of life in Los Angeles.

This conversation represents a third space that Gayotto wants to foster, one that represents an embrace of the reality that in this corner of the world, “everyone’s so mixed up.” Looking to “expand the concept of biculturality,” in Somewhere in Between Gayotto intentionally features singles, parents, and families of multiple ethnic identities in contact with the personal and collective spaces they have carved out for themselves in a particular Los Angeles neighborhood. Extended shots capture a range of human experiences with the city, from a pedestrian-filled downtown intersection to a solitary moment in a park.

Bia Gayotto with project participant Carrie Adrian.

Bia Gayotto with project participant Carrie Adrian. (Photo credit: Don Milici. Courtesy of the Pasadena Museum of California Art.)

In the compilation and editing process, Gayotto coordinated what would become paired scenes based on their human and environmental content, taking color and movement into consideration. Each scene, regardless of content, is projected for the same amount of time, but the two panels do not change simultaneously, creating a linking effect between all of the scenes in the project. Gayotto’s sound mixer on the project created a looping soundtrack for the installation using the sounds from the actual footage. Echoes and distortions turn the roar of traffic and rustle of trees in the wind into a pseudo-musical score.

Somewhere in Between: Los Angeles is one of a series of similar projects of which Gayotto is in the process of producing. The first of these was made in Chicago in 2011. Gayotto explored the technoscape of Silicon Valley in 2012 and expects to produce the first international version of this project in Taipei in 2014. Her goal is to complete an incarnation of Somewhere in Between on each continent.

Rachel Paprocki is a student of theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. Her emphasis is in theology and the arts, and her upcoming master’s thesis concerns the theology of human embodiment in contemporary literature.

Fieldnotes Magazine is a publication of the Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary. We would love to hear from you about people, businesses, or other organizations we can interview or feature. Please email the editor at Fieldnotes Magazine.

 

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