Dear Neighbor LA Campaign
part of the 72andSunny Creative Residency
Dear Neighbor is a partnership between 72andSunny and our homeless neighbors of Los Angeles. I was brought on to this campaign as a part of an artist residency with eight others. Although the whole team put on many different hats throughout this campaign, I acted as the creative technologist, contributing with web development, design/animation, and creative direction.
This was the first test in which I animated Milo’s illustrations and brought them to life. His mural idea contained many iconic locations along the beaches of Los Angeles, so I thought that a fun way to involve users would be to allow them to rearrange the city and walk amongst the buildings.
Unfortunately due to the process of gathering permits to put up murals in LA, Milo’s wall was never created. He did end up getting his design on several bus benches throughout the city though!
The mural design by Yoyo did get the permit for the wall! So we started to explore different ways to bring her designs to life. Because of how her design contains many geometric shapes with bright vibrant colors, we used Rhino to recreate many of the shapes in 3D and imported these assets into Lens Studio. I would then script them to do certain animations once the marker is picked up.
Again, as I was also new to the city of Los Angeles, I wanted to create a fun joyous experience in exploring this great city. A goal of mine was to instill this sense of discovery that many have lost due to general negativity towards the homeless population.
The experience ended up having two parts. The first would be short animations overlaid on top of the mural that would loop. One of these key animations would show how a homeless citizen could get support through Permanent Supportive Housing.
The second part was the construction of the city of Los Angeles after the user has successfully viewed the key animation. The city builds in front of the user’s very feet.
Again, getting permits for murals is hard. And what’s even harder is painting them! The mural for Yoyo’s design could unfortunately not be completed in time until after the event and the residency due to unforeseen circumstances. Our solution was a large printout of the mural that is unveiled at the event.
However, I was able to test out the Lens at the uncompleted mural site right before I left LA. I was impressed with the tracking of the uncompleted mural, especially with things that were in the way like poles and vehicles. Seeing the wall come to life on such a large scale was very impressive.
For the launch event I also created a people facing filter that uses face detection and person segmentation. We found that it was a fun activation that also informs users of our main push towards Permanent Supportive Housing. It was great to see both homed and homeless attendees of the event use this filter together.
The Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, got to use it as well!
My experience working with the numerous homeless support organizations and the homeless people have shifted my whole perspective on the this issue. I knew that it was a complicated issue, and I can honestly say that I was afflicted by my own biases before working on this brief. But there is honestly nothing stronger than human to human connection. Seeing people come together due to our work and treating each other as human beings continues to inspire me to make work that matters. It was also wonderful to work with such an amazing group of artists as well. There were a looooot of problems… and we got through em all. Special thanks to Traecy, Cath, Ziv, all the residents on the 72U team, and Showzart.