On June 28th, Visual Communications x Little Tokyo Service Center Artist-In-Residence Tina Takemoto hosted “Touch Little Tokyo: DIY Film Workshop” with the Echo Park Film Center. At the workshop, participants had the chance to play with 16mm film using experimental techniques.
LTSC’s +Lab Artist-In-Residency Program is a three-month residency where artists get to immerse themselves in the Little Tokyo Community and create work promoting community engagement. This year’s theme of “Community Control and Self-Determination” pushed Tina to use the VC Archives, shedding light onto the complex histories behind Little Tokyo.
The DIY Film workshop was composed of three main activities: scotch tape image transfers on clear 16mm film strips, texture rubbings on black 16mm film strips, and cyanotypes. These experimental methods created an interactive and immersive experience for the Little Tokyo community workers invited to attend this closed workshop. Members from East West Players, the Japanese National Museum, and Little Tokyo Service Center joined the workshop. The film strips used were then compiled into a short film, directed by Tina Takemoto.
Here is a short account from our Exhibitions Intern Yong-Yi Chiang on her experience at the workshop:
“For one of the workshops, we took wet film strips and rubbed different textures onto the strip. For example, I took a paperclip, placed it underneath the film strip, and used a spoon to scrape the surface of the film strip. I really had to press hard to get different patterns onto the film strip. While it was a slow and steady process, it was fun to see how people got creative with finding different textures around the building. Some people even began to take markers and color parts of their film strip. This workshop was very interactive and collaborative, because we got to put together the film strips and watch all the footage we created. Simplifying the filmmaking process to materials that anyone can easily access made me realize that anyone can create film even without expensive technology.
In another workshop, we had the opportunity to create our own cyanotypes. First, we were given a cloth sheet that we could lay different objects upon. Because the cloth sheet was sensitive to the sun, it would print out the shapes and shadows of the different objects onto the sheet. After around ten minutes, we had to dip the sheet into two different buckets of chemicals to set the prints into the cloth. What I liked about this workshop was the speed. I really had to think about the layout of my objects beforehand, because, as soon as, the sheet was exposed to the sun, I couldn’t rearrange my objects. It was exciting to see the final product, especially because different objects and materials casted more distinct shadows.”