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Project proposal: http://la.thepublicschool.org/note/2991
Specters of LA… Class Site: http://la.thepublicschool.org/class/1984

This is a proposal for a class – conversation – performance about the history and effects of riots in the Los Angeles area. I would like to present my research questions about the patterns of and conditions for urban riots in the American cities between 1965~1992, and the methods of site specific research which I have done in other cities. The research is at it’s early stage and my presentation will be a series of speculations and contextual questions, and I would like to learn from the residents of LA and experts who are more familiar with the riots. So far, it seems like the patterns of urban riots have been identified and studied by many sociologists and others. The questions remain unanswered, because after riots exhaust urban space, violence becomes invisible, but reemerges in different forms and in different times.

  • What are the similarities and differences in factors that triggered and the manifestations of violence in the 1965 Watts riot, 1992 Rodney King riot, and present day violence in LA?
  • More generally, what are the social and economic conditions that surround the riots?
  • How have the events been portrayed in the collective narratives of different local ethnic groups, in popular culture (film and music), and in the mainstream media?
  • Why did violence erupt as instances of riots? Why weren’t non-violent methods employed? Why did these events not build towards a larger sustained movement? Or did they?

My name is Taeyoon Choi, an artist based in New York City and Seoul. I am also the committee member of The Public School New York. I was inspired by the ‘Specters of LA and Site specific resurrection’ class and want to experience it by contributing my interpretation of ‘Specters of the Riot’, a term borrowed from the LA Public School. I’ve made artistic research and site specific walking tours about catastrophic events in the urban space, such as the collapsed Sampoong department store in Seoul, South Korea and Oklahoma City Bombing site in Oklahoma City. Such projects were made as part of ‘Urban programming’ series, which imagines restructuring of the urban experience through workshop and performance. Previous projects were presented at the Medialab-Prado in Madrid, 01SJ Biennial in San Jose, Nam June Paik Arts Center in Korea and documented in my book ‘Urban programming 101: Stage Directions’ published by Mediabus.

I would like to develop new project about riots in the LA area, please be present and share your thoughts. My short presentation will transform into a longer time devoted to discussion and collaboration on the ‘Specters of the Riot map’ based on locational information of photographic and video documents, memory of personal experience and the local folklore. The map will be used to conduct tours of the site in the following days until December 16th, also open to participation.

The class will happen in December 13th – 7pm (tbd) at the Telic Arts Exchange. The class is supported and hosted by the ‘Specters of LA History and Site Specific Resurrection’ at the Public School and also the Public School New York.

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