OHC is a street-level storytelling program of the Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (LACA), a public archive and library dedicated to contemporary artmaking.
This program emerged from a recognized need at LACA for the oral stories of donating artists, which can illuminate the context of some otherwise ambiguous collections. The Oral History Center’s focus is created to complement LACA’s material focus. These materials encompass explanations of an artist’s teaching philosophy, descriptions of studio fires, loss of artwork, museum labor, negotiating with curators, financial struggles, and furthers conversations we are having around authenticity and the inauthentic. OHC is a platform that strengthens and adds further complexity to conversations already happening at LACA.
The center itself occupies a former insurance office just downstairs from LACA’s main library. It hosts a front exhibition room with archival shelving units for storage of the Oral History Collection. Past the shelves is the recording room, where both interviews and workshops are held. Further down the hallway is a smaller room where equipment is kept for use at the center and for check-out, including microphones, lavaliers, zoom recorders, and audio editing and transcription software.
OHC is an expansion of the Autonomous Oral History Group, initiated in 2019.