Engaging joy and justice for a more technological and equitable L.A.
In January 2023, The Music Center invited a group of stakeholders to submit qualifications for The Music Center’s Digital Innovation Initiative’s inaugural Design Lab PROSPECTIVES, a two-week-long lab for artists, activists, scholars and other members of the public to envision the future values, ethics and uses of a pending smart city Los Angeles. PROSPECTIVES was designed around the principles of co-creation and non-hierarchical learning. Participating members took key field trips to partnering grassroots organizations to learn from their practices and strategies, and engaged in collaborative world-building exercises during the second week of the lab.
Stay tuned for future Design Labs!
Bold futures, created from our most cherished values and cultural practices, are not envisioned from imagination alone. They take shape from the lived experiences co-created between people who work to build, brick by brick, the foundations of the city we call home. Today, we live in complex cities with analog and digital interfaces that enable rapid text communication, smart traffic lights using AI technology, remote work from home and Augmented and Virtual Reality leisure activities. With technological advancements being more widely integrated into our public landscapes and daily activities, how we lay the foundations for our future will involve a deep understanding of and engagement with not only the brick and mortar reality of our worlds, but also the invisible digital infrastructure of our city and its impacts on place-making activities. As one of the nation’s largest cultural arts institutions, The Music Center is dedicated to co-creating with the public new bold visions of our city’s technological infrastructure so that it enriches the cultural and artistic practices of all Angelenos.
PROSPECTIVES, the new Design Lab of The Music Center’s Digital Innovation Initiative, takes a collaborative, hands-on approach to explore the future of Los Angeles’ technological infrastructure and its impact on, and use in, cultural practices of L.A. residents. At the PROSPECTIVES Design Lab, The Music Center will ignite hybrid (digital and in person) place-making activities, building upon The Music Center’s mission, by partnering with grassroots organizations and a technology partner and by working with artists and advisors who seek to impact positive cultural change through the lens of technology. Participants will learn from each other’s respective lived experiences and artistic and activist strategies, to deepen collective understanding around how technology impacts the lives of Angelenos across the city in order to envision a more prosperous LA. By creating a space for artists, organizers, scholars, technologists and more to come together, the Lab hopes to engender co-creation between the arts and key cultural sectors that otherwise may not have the time or resources to build bridges and learn from one another.
With the City of Los Angeles investing in smart technology and IoT infrastructure for the upcoming 2028 Olympics, there is an opportunity for activists, artists, and community leaders alike to envision systems that reduce harm while imagining the most equitable applications of these technologies for the betterment of all Angeleno communities and not just the few. To this end, PROSPECTIVES asks: What do we want our technological experiences in L.A. to feel like? What types of relationships, values and ethics do we want these inventions to produce and support? Housing, public health, education, food, criminal justice reform, climate and social justice all intersect with data rights and technology. We will explore how and where these issues are impacted by cultural attitudes towards the role of technology in society, and explore creative avenues through the arts to envision bold future possibilities. When our technological systems are at their best, they will support and enrich our most cherished cultural activities. How will we imagine and build, code by code and brick by brick, technological and cultural practices that equitably support all of L.A."s inhabitants?
When we speak of our vision to deepen the cultural lives of all Angelenos, we turn to the work of TMC Arts. This team champions the diverse voices and communities of Los Angeles, fostering connection, creativity and enrichment. TMC Arts programs connect people, offering us the chance to get creative and to learn as we discover something new or enjoy something familiar. Many programs are free and low-cost; they take place outdoors on Jerry Moss Plaza at The Music Center and in Grand Park, inside The Music Center's theatres and in schools and neighborhoods all across L.A. County.