Digital Arts and New Media: MFA: Collaboration, Innovation, Social Impact

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Carl Erez: Smoked Out: Watching Them Scrape Our Homes Away

Carl Erez "Smoked Out: Watching Them Scrape Our Homes Away"

Smoked Out was an experimental new work about the CZU Lightning Complex fires of 2020 and more importantly, the structural hurdles that those attempting to rebuild afterwards have faced. Out of the 911 homes destroyed during the fires, only 24 have been fully rebuilt over the intervening 32 months. While there are arguments for a cautious approach to rebuilding, those considerations must be weighed against the human cost of having to fight with bureaucracy after losing one’s home to recreate a sense of security and stability.

Smoked Out will approach this clearly complex, systemic issue via a multi-modal approach in three acts:

I. A documentary performance with text composed from interviews with five individuals who have attempted to go through the rebuilding process.

II. A mobile phone game, so audience members can experience some of the structural hurdles via direct play. The game is available to play at

III. A forum theater to discuss what changes might be made to help those struggling with rebuilding now and how to change the system before the next large disaster hits.

Additional dramaturgical resources can be found at

Smoked Out was originally performed on March 10, 11, and 12, 2023. However, just because this performance is over does not mean that the harm is not still ongoing, or that these structural oppositions to housing our communities will not continue to cause harm unless the underlying systemic issues are resolved.

From the 2023 DANM MFA Exhibition "Heap is Full".