siena sewon jun

makes movies.

Siena Sewon Jun

makes movies.


Linda Leigh and I met one spring day in 2018, at an art book library, which was really just a corner in the supply room of Studio 526. The Studio is a community art center, located inside the social service agency building on San Pedro, downtown LA.

My first week at the Studio, I picked up a stapled booklet titled “Skid Row Zine” from a black storage bin. The zine featured photos of works and texts by the Studio artists. A poem got a hold of me. I stayed with it a long minute, perhaps too long, since someone had to yell for my attention. (My job was to grab whatever materials/tools artists requested from the supply room. Artist were not allowed to go in, lest they felt inclined to take any sharp object.)

The poem was written by Linda Leigh. It was about her dad. In it, she tended to him, and he let her. They both knew he didn’t have much time left.  

When I finally met Linda, I was starstruck. I asked if she was indeed that Linda, Linda Leigh from the zine. She turned. Behind the pink dollar store shades, she smiled.

We decided that we'd work on a project together. The result is Passage

Stills from the video -

Passage took place on the ground level of a five-story parking structure on March 28, 2019.

The 14-minute video was projected onto the wall. 
A hyper-edited condensed footage documents three years of my navigating around the city.
The crowd starts to gather. Some came alone. Others came in pairs.

Neon lights emanating from the nearby signages bleed through the windows. Linda stands against the wall, pulsing with the rhythm of the traffic. Her voice, neither loud nor quiet, fills up the cavernous lot.

She takes us to the night she looked out to the black ocean waiting for grunions.
She takes us to the day her parents first met. She confides in us the many lives she lived.

Mise en scène: Main Street is one street above Los Angeles Street where Skid Row starts to loom. They are, in other words, a boundary, the edge of a cliff. Past Main, people act weird, and no one pays any mind. Folks who howl, pass out, drag a filthy blanket through puddles, urinate, defecate, and sleep barefoot on the streets don’t get any attention. Everybody looks away.

The five-story parking garage stands attached to the new loft apartment. It is, of course, reserved for the residents. The ground floor of the garage is always empty. It’s left empty because they can afford to leave it empty. During lunch, at its busiest hour, you might spot a couple of musicians honing their repertoire for the northbound red line gig. Retail employees saunter in with compostable takeout containers. Security can tell if they can stay or not. One quick glance will do.