3 Questions with Mariah Garnett

June 24, 2014

Why L.A.? Why did you choose to work in this city in particular?

When I moved here in 2004 I immediately realized this city was way more interesting than it usually gets credit for, but it took me at least 2 years to decide I actually wanted to be here. Now I can't imagine living anywhere else, in the U.S. at least. I love how private it is, not in an exclusive way, it's just that all the really interesting stuff is happening in peoples' backyards, or in a strip mall or behind some other dull facade, where you wouldn't expect to find anything. 

How has your time in L.A. shaped your work?

In one way or another, all of my work is about L.A. Most of my films are about forging a connection across seemingly uncrossable lines, many times using impersonation as a strategy. This city is so preoccupied by and associated with Hollywood - a constant cycle of impersonation, representation and simulacra, itself often posing in films as other places, or as a non-place. Against this churning behemoth of a backdrop, relationships can be really weird here and I think a lot of my work is about that. I also like to use a variety of fractured media and modes of storytelling, which kind of mirrors the way this city is laid out. For me, pursuit is much more interesting than coming to any "real" kind of understanding, which brings to mind that cliche dis about this town: "7 suburbs looking for a city." What an active way to describe a place - way better than just "a city."

Favorite place in L.A. Go.

This is a really tough question. I like the roof of La Curaçao department store near Pico Union. I like La Curaçao department store. Also, duh, the beach.  

Mariah's film Picaresques is featured tonight during our program Moving Situations.