Still images from You Are Here. Image credit: Marike Splint

YOU ARE HERE – a homebound travelogue

Marike Splint, Theater, Film and Television, UCLA

Professor and theater artist Marike Splint received a seed grant from the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy for the research of a new performance that was initially titled The Biography of a Home. The impulse for this work starts with a personal anecdote. When the 114-year old house in Pico Union that Marike was living was sold to a contractor, she and her neighbors became the target of landlord harassment in an attempt to illegally evict them to convert the house into condos. Fueled by these events, Marike joined the LA Tenants Union and started digging into the history of the house in city and county archives. She began to fantasize about the events that the house has witnessed, from being surrounded by grassland, to the first immigrants moving in, to the people living out of their car in the street today. The archival research, supported by the Institute, yielded a rich archive on this one address in Los Angeles, where issues of immigration, gentrification, and poverty come together.

This project was originally conceived as a performance for the stage. When the pandemic happened, an in-person theater became impossible, the research pivoted to an online performance titled YOU ARE HERE – a homebound travelogue, presented by the La Jolla Playhouse. Performed live from Marike’s home in Pico Union, YOU ARE HERE takes the shape of a travelogue through the virtual map of Google Earth, using the artist’s home and neighborhood as a starting point for a poetic and political journey around the world. The performance touches on questions of belonging, putting down roots, how streets and cities are represented in Google Earth, our Faustian bargain with big tech, visible and invisible borders, and the pandemic-fueled eviction crisis.

Watch >> YOU ARE HERE – a homebound travelogue (Presented by the La Jolla Playhouse in November 2020)