Nothing makes a designer's day more than seeing his creation out and about. In last week's episode of KCRW's Design and Architecture host Frances Anderton tipped us off to a quick turnaround mobile design challenge that promises to take your work deep into unexplored Los Angeles neighborhoods and into dusty cities across the border.
Producer Pearse-Chavez conducts an interview in a random quiet area.
Sonic Trace is a multi-platform project funded by KCRW's Independent Producer Project that seeks to document immigrant stories that start in Los Angeles with roots outside the country. Throughout this summer producers Anayansi Diaz-Cortez and Eric Pearse-Chavez will be going around different parts of Los Angeles and across the border asking three compelling questions: Why do people leave? Why do others stay? And, what makes people go back (in either direction)?
One of the first Los Angeles migrants from Tavehua, Oaxaca, Mexico. Sonic Trace's prime subjects. Photo courtesy of Sonic Trace.
While traipsing around the town with a mic in hand may seem glamorous, the truth is, it's pretty bad for gathering audio. The pair will hit venues from churches to concert halls with vastly different sound conditions. The two need a sound booth, but not just a boring box. Diaz-Cortez tells Core77, "We would love it if it felt like a telephone booth, but with both parties in the same booth. We want it to be a borderless, neutral space where you can reflect."
The next generation of Oaxacans practice for Guelagetza celebrations this August. Photo courtesy of Sonic Trace.The next generation of Oaxacans practice for Guelagetza celebrations this August. Photo courtesy of Sonic Trace.
With just a $5,000 budget, Diaz-Cortez and Pearse-Chavez aren't looking for an over-designed box or a StoryCorps-type trailer costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. They want a mini portable studio that people feel invited to enter. "We know how to craft stories for people to listen to, but we don't know how to build structures that the public can engage with," says Diaz-Cortez frankly.
Take note, designers need to be able to build their proposals, but they don't need to worry about complicated electrical mumbo jumbo.
KCRW's blog provides more details. Listen to this episode of DnA to hear both producers talk in detail about their requirements. Deadline is June 8. Winners get great exposure from KCRW across on-air and online.
It might not be a big-budget commission, but sounds like winners don't have to worry about navigating tangled bureaucracies or getting enough media coverage. Sounds like a sweet deal to me.