Actual Reality

3 Questions with Sarah Rara

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

Moving to Los Angeles was a love-at-first-sight kind of situation. I chose L.A. decisively, with no hesitation—a strong impulse carried me here. For me the city still exudes of so much complexity and possibility. There is not a consensus reality in Los Angeles, but a wildness and openness. This massive city has space for any kind of life you might imagine wanting to make. There’s a tenderness I have for Los Angeles— just seeing the word “L-O-S-A-N-G-E-L-E-S” written out or hearing the name spoken aloud has a special magic for me, a kind of promise. There is a fantasy of California that is still very much alive in me.

I moved here when I was quite young. I packed my things and drove across the country not knowing what I would find. I rented a tiny house surrounded by a parking lot in Silverlake that had a piano. It was paradise to me. I didn’t know anyone when I first moved here—I swam in the ocean and walked about the hills and mountains alone, contemplating this giant city.  

Now Los Angeles holds some of my favorite humans. Particularly within the art community, I am constantly having my mind blown. This city holds some of the wildest and most ambitious dreamers I’ve ever seen. Somehow I would like to personally meet every single person in Los Angeles County. Perhaps Made in L.A. can be a time for everyone in L.A. to actually meet face to face, all of us.

Los Angeles is also remarkably one of the few places where I can experience anonymity. Private and public spaces intersect in unexpected ways. I can disappear a bit when I chose to. I don’t blend anywhere else. This is the place.

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

Los Angeles permeates my work in so many ways. The subtlety of the seasons means that time passes in a very different way, a specific tempo with both slow changes and sudden shifts. Los Angeles has changed the way I sense the passage of time and this has affected the way I structure video and sound. I’ve become fascinated with very long and very short (almost imperceptible) durations. The vast depth of the city forces a kind of patience or long-view—I’m always aware of the mountains and the horizon. I'm always traveling toward something in the distance, a constant steady approach. The intensity of the light translates into intense kinds of focus. The way the sun illuminates everything very clearly connects with the simplicity, sincerity, and directness I try to build into my work.

Favorite place in L.A. Go.

To walk at sunset through Elysian Park.

Sarah's band Lucky Dragons performs Actual Reality at the Hammer on Tuesday, July 8 at 7:30PM.

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Tags: Made in L.A., Sarah Rara, Lucky Dragons