Los Angeles artist Sandra de la Loza imagines monuments that are alive and dynamic like the creek that once flowed near Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park. In What the Willow Whispers, she animates the arroyo willow that lived along Compton Creek, the last major tributary of the Los Angeles River before it spills into the Pacific. Her lens revives the native plants that construction and an oil storage facility once diminished. Trees, birds, and animals resurface from a primordial pool that bursts through concrete. Music by local artist Carlos Gabriel Niño and Friends add the sound of wind, water, and seed pods rattling into the environment. The ecosystem in the lens grows and transforms by season, illustrating how the land is interconnected with time and history. What the Willow Whispers recalls the past to urge a vision of new ecologies in the future.
The Open Hand is Blessed, 2021
“If you hold your hand closed, nothing good can come in. The open hand is blessed, for it gives in abundance, even as it receives.” — Biddy Mason (1818–1891)
The Open Hand is Blessed is a memorial series that pays tribute to the voice and spiritual philosophy of Biddy Mason. The story of Mason is one of resilience. In 1851, Mason arrived in San Bernardino, California, after traveling thousands of miles by foot as an enslaved person. After this arduous journey, she settled in Los Angeles and worked as a nurse and midwife. She died a free person and one of the wealthiest Black women in the country. In The Open Hand is Blessed, Ada Pinkston draws from archival images of African American residents in 19th century Los Angeles.
Think Big, 2021
I.R. Bach’s approach to what constitutes a monument differs from its conventional definition. A simple action such as moving through the park may turn into an experience worth memorializing. Through larger-than-life animations, a whimsical soundtrack, and a guiding basketball, Think Big crafts an experience designed to inspire self-reflection as you proceed. “The aspiration is to collectively build an invisible monument of thought.” I.R. Bach encourages users to playfully consider the phrase, “See yourself in others and others in you.” Think Big is ideally enjoyed in the park but is available everywhere on a smaller scale with fewer stops. The original soundtrack was composed by the artist and features special guest Dwight Trible.
No Finish Line, 2021
No Finish Line centers generational stories from the communities, businesses, and organizations along the 1932 L.A. Olympic marathon route, which started and ended at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. This conceptual project highlights how the stories of daily life come together to make history. A narrative thread connects generations of people, businesses, and organizations along the route. The symbolism of a marathon reminds the viewer that the path of history is long, and that making positive change and building an equitable world requires stamina. The memories of the people and places therefore become perpetual and not forgotten: the path of history is a marathon with no finish line. In 2028, Los Angeles will become the only city in the United States to host the Olympic Games three times, invoking memories of Games past and contributing new narratives to the future. Original music composition created in collaboration with DJ Melo-D of the World Famous Beat Junkies.
LACMA × SNAPCHAT: MONUMENTAL PERSPECTIVES
LACMA × Snapchat: Monumental Perspectives brings together artists and technologists to create augmented reality monuments that explore just some of the histories of Los Angeles communities in an effort to highlight perspectives from across the region.
In consultation with community leaders and historians, artists Mercedes Dorame, I.R. Bach, Glenn Kaino, Ruben Ochoa, and Ada Pinkston examine key moments, figures, and monumentality, while Judy Baca, Sandra de la Loza, and Kang Seung Lee explore changing landscapes and memory as a way to connect the past and the present through augmented reality experiences.
Visitors can experience the augmented reality monuments at site-specific locations across Los Angeles including Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park and Algin Sutton Recreation Center. The monuments can also be experienced by anyone around the world on Snapchat by typing in the works' titles in the Search Bar. Learn more about the project at lacma.org/monumental.