Grace in LA series

While many are now mapping themselves and we lift up their projects, we have noticed an absence of attention to how different ethnicities interact amongst each other. So, SLAB creates our own maps exploring these interstices. That is one of the key questions in our historic moment of urbanization and migration – not only do we need to ask how do we create and hold onto places of belonging, but also ask how do we live together?  What would it look like?  We think Los Angeles is filled with examples for us to learn from.
In this project, we are creating a series of cinematic maps. One example is the “Bill’s Taco” video above. Originally started by Mexican American man, now operated by a Korean-American woman, this restaurant is a multi-generational African-American place so important that people still drive hours to go back to Bill’s after decades of economic displacement. Things we learned through cinematic mapping was the awkward beauty of different ethnicities being themselves together in the same space, the importance to people of some places not upgrading and redeveloping, that authentic ethnic places in LA are often co-produced across ethnicities such that we all have a stake in creating places of belonging for each group.
Other episodes we are currently working on include Bill’s Taco part 2, where we learn how Eva and customers interacted during the 1992 LA civil unrest and River’s LA, where we travel with Tongva-Mexican-American artist River Garza to knit his geography across the region from Simi Valley to Playa del Rey.