Spencer Cline: Currently we are laid out in Alumni Park. We have ten artists featured here today in about a semi half circle, each one deserving a portrait in each winner, having an audio story dedicated to said artist. So this is an exhibit on Los Angeles hip hop. The purpose of this project is for my practicum or my capstone project. The reason why I chose Los Angeles hip hop is because in the world of public diplomacy, the purpose is to engage foreign publics through a state and non-state actors. And what that means is that you engage people from lands in places that you’re not familiar with through means that you are familiar with. So what I chose to do is know what I know the best and use hip hop culture as a means to communicate with people all across the world, which are heavily concentrated here at USC.
Safira Khan: Yeah, definitely. And what kind of inspired you to take on this idea for this project?
Cline: Well, I’m an audio journalist, as you know, and I have experience putting together stories and I like the idea of storytelling, and I think storytelling is an essential tool to communicate with people who are different from you. So if you see right here, each one of these pictures has a QR code attached to them, and each one of these QR codes tell about two or two and a half minute story regarding to the specific artist or event happening at a specific posting. So if you were to scan that Tupac poster right there, would tell you about two and a half minute story about the life of Tupac.
Khan: The following is an excerpt of Spencer’s exhibit on the story of Tupac, told by Spencer himself.
Cline: Tupac was more than just a rapper. He was a visionary, a poet and a voice for a generation of young people who were searching for hope and meaning in the world that often seemed hostile and unjust.
Khan: What do you hope people get out of this exhibition?
Cline: Well, there are certainly people who know the subject matter. What I hope to get out of it is reach an audience that hasn’t known about the subject matter. So we have to we have to set out a target audience on who we want this exhibit to impact and reach out to. And I specifically pointed out people who are not from Los Angeles. More specifically, international students.
Khan: How do you think that, you know, having it be audio focused is different or more powerful or more impactful?
Spencer Cline: Well, audio is easier in my in my respect, I believe it’s more it’s more mobile, too. No one wants to sit down and watch a video for two and a half minutes for every single exhibit. I think this lets them in their ears and look at the art themselves. And also I just copy and paste sort of what I’ve seen in other museums and other exhibitions I’ve seen across the country.
Khan: Yeah, definitely. I think. Just to finish this off. What what have you learned from this project? You know, as someone who is an audio creator and how have you possibly grown from this?
Cline: I would say that in order to get people to listen, you got to make them feel interesting. And the way to do that, there are various strategies. So I did send an invitation via Slack, via Facebook, Google, you know, all the other social media sites. But the most important guest is the one that shows up on the day who doesn’t know what’s going on. So the best route to do that is to be engaging with the people you see around us and don’t smell like out.
Chris Tucker from Friday (1995): Hey, wait a minute man I ain’t gone be supplying you, you gone be talking about my shit.