Welcome to the Labyrinth.

The Labyrinth Project is a collaborative inquiry into nature in Los Angeles. Wetlands, lawns, rats, cats, coyotes, mountain lions interact with human affect, state power, indigenous politics, aesthetic pleasure, local governmental power and much more. Also, Satan. Using a mix of participant-observation, structured interviewing, collaborative urban anthropology, historical and archival digging, ecological observation, and analysis of social media content, we explore the diverse and surprising ways in which Los Angeles is full of different natures— a veritable trophic cascade of the absurd and surprising. We write research papers and we have produced a podcast project in collaboration with the Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies at UCLA.

The image of the Labyrinth is our playful starting point. Some mazes have monsters, some have heroes. Some mazes have only one path, some branch into many levels and layers. To get a feeling for this maze, you can take two paths. Start with our Introduction to the maze which is a non-academic, hilarious but very serious, tour of the maze so far. Or if you prefer, you can start in the “sounds” maze, which is made up of bits and pieces from our archive of interviews and collected materials, organized into a twisting passageway of concepts and problems.

Lab members include faculty in The Institute for Society and Genetics along with graduate students from anthropology, environmental science, and public health and a team of undergraduates majoring in Human Biology and Society at UCLA. Our funding comes from the UCLA Grand Challenges program on Sustainable LA and the Institute for Society and Genetics.

Queries, requests, problems can be directed to ckelty@ucla.edu.