Untitled: a procession on the borders of something that has already shifted uses fences to explore questions around privacy, private property, privilege, displacement, and belonging. Our project examines what it means to pass through a neighborhood, lingering in the histories, communities, materials, textures, and memories that make up such spaces. Taking the form of a procession through private and public spaces in Echo Park, Untitled features the voices of invited collaborators, who include a landscape architect, an academic expert on residential zoning laws and the history of racial dispossession in Echo Park, a Chicanx artist whose drawing practice includes portraits of East Los Angeles’ residential landscape, and Echo Park residents who explore their memories and connections to the neighborhood. The performance culminates in an empty lot marked for residential development, a space we understand as nascent with potentiality and conflicting desires. An open space, an unbuilt—for now—space for speculation.
Devised by Sarah Lewis-Cappellari and Gwyneth Shanks
Text by Sarah Lewis-Cappellari and Gwyneth Shanks
Performance Guides Dorit Cypis and Loren Fenton
Recorded speakers and additional text by Dana Cuff, David Godshall, Vincent H., Grace Lara, Manuel Lopez, Jesenia R., and Gabriela R.
Additional Performances by Vincent H., Grace Lara, Jesenia R., and Gabriela R.
Dorit Cypis is an artist, educator, and mediator. Her work explores history, identity, and social relations by balancing aesthetics with social action. She aims to create openings in which critical thinking, connection, and transformation can occur.
Loren Fenton has been an actor and movement-theater artist for many years. She studied Psychology at Harvard, then moved to California to attend Cal Arts, where she received her MFA in Acting. She lived in Fresno from 2014-2017, working with neighborhood artist-activists and local government. Now, she is expanding her art practice to include writing. Loren returned to Los Angeles in 2017, and is a recent homeowner in Echo Park.
David Godshall, landscape architect and co-owner of Terremoto, creates landscape architectural work that explores the relationship between built and natural forms through conversations, research, and observation.
Since the second grade, Jesenia R. has participated in 826LA programs, and has lived in Echo Park for many years. She is currently a freshman at Woodbury University where she is majoring in Public Safety and is especially interested in criminal justice and civil rights. In her free time, she enjoys scary movies, especially those with paranormal activity.
Gabriela R. is a resident of Echo Park and enjoys activities that fill her with a sense of accomplishment, such as reading, running, and writing. When she is not running track or doing homework, Gabriela spends her time hiking and volunteering at 826LA. Writing allows Gabriela to imagine and construct new worlds and volunteering at the tutoring center is especially gratifying for her, as it’s an opportunity to support a place and people that have supported her.
826LA is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. The presenters belong to 826LA Youth Advisory Board, a group of high school students who want to help their peers and their neighborhood. By helping to plan educational and fun events, and assisting with tutoring and helping younger students, the YAB is the student voice of 826LA.
Grace Lara is a permanent makeup artist, a past LAPD Cadet, a member of the Northeast Youth Council, and a former resident of Echo Park. Her family lived and were homeowners in the neighborhood for over 60 years — and in the general Northeast LA area for almost a century — before relocating in 2016.
Dana Cuff is an architecture theorist and the founding director of cityLAB at UCLA, where she is also a full professor in the Department of Architecture. At UCLA, she leads the multidisciplinary program called the Urban Humanities Initiative. Her writing and research focuses on postwar LA, affordable housing, and the histories of residential communities; her books include Architecture: the Story of Practice and The Provisional City: Los Angeles Stories of Architecture and Urbanism. Cuff’s proudest achievement is her recent coauthoring of California legislation (AB 2299) based on a decade of work by cityLAB, that legalizes second dwelling units for the 8.1M single-family homes in the state.
Manuel Lopez is an artist whose work is informed by his immediate surroundings. His black-and-white drawings are inspired by cluster of homes, storefronts, iron gates, utility poles, palm trees and other elements common to the landscape of East LA neighborhoods.