LACMA × Snapchat: Monumental Perspectives is a multi-year initiative that brings together celebrated artists and leading technologists to create augmented reality monuments exploring histories of Los Angeles communities. In consultation with community leaders and historians, the project’s third and final cohort of artists, Victoria Fu, Yassi Mazandi, Rashaad Newsome, Ruben Ortiz Torres, and Alison Saar, have used the lens of collective ancestral memory to examine the individual and communal legacies we leave today and have created works designed to be experienced at locations across Los Angeles with Snapchat’s camera.
Beginning today, Victoria Fu’s piece can be activated at Los Angeles State Historic Park; Yassi Mazandi’s at LACMA; Rashaad Newsome’s at Exposition Park; Rubén Ortiz Torres’s at Lincoln Park; and Alison Saar’s at Santa Monica Beach. These five monuments can also be viewed by anyone around the world on Snapchat by searching in Lens Explorer or by scanning the QR codes online.
This Sunday, September 10, LACMA will be hosting a festive free day to celebrate Monumental Perspectives where visitors can experience all 13 of the initiative's monuments, engage with project creators, and enjoy art workshops, DJ sets, and free admission to the museum. RSVP here.
Find out more about the five new monuments below.
Victoria Fu, 1871
In light of the current anti-Asian sentiment and racially motivated acts of violence in the United States, Victoria Fu’s 1871 (image at top), which takes the shape of an inverted, upside-down monument, recognizes the Chinese Massacre of 1871 in Los Angeles. Currently there is no monument acknowledging this horrific event, making Fu’s gesture toward engaging with it crucial. 1871's site, Los Angeles State Historic Park, is only a mile from the incident and adjacent to contemporary Chinatown.
Yassi Mazandi, The Thirty Birds
The Thirty Birds relates to Mazandi’s physical installation Language of the Birds (on the north side of the Resnick Pavilion at LACMA), which consists of 100 suspended abstract bronzes and takes its name and theme from an epic 12th-century Persian poem by Farid al-Din ‘Attar. The Thirty Birds is Mazandi’s interpretation of the ending of ‘Attar’s poem, and also calls to mind today’s key issue of climate change.
Rashaad Newsome, Self Inventions
Self Inventions pays homage to the spirit of perpetual regeneration and innovation in Black culture. Newsome’s shape-shifting robotic figure in Exposition Park draws comparisons between the labor performed by robots and the unpaid, compulsory service Black people have had to perform historically. The optical effect of transformation from one form to another employs fractal geometry, an aesthetic that, along with the designs of the robotic figures themselves, is inspired by African art and its early use of abstraction.
Rubén Ortiz Torres, Dead Heads
Torres has responded to a site in Lincoln Heights where a number of sculptures have been stolen from their plinths. For Dead Heads, the site’s empty plinths become an opportunity to envision a new form of memorialization, one in which Mexican historical figures like Doña Josefa Dominguez overlap with contemporary cultural icons and with large-scale statuary such as Olmec heads, Northwestern totems, and depictions of Buddha.
Alison Saar, Rise
Responding to the current attack on reproductive rights and threats made to the sovereignty of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and female bodies, Rise creates space to remember those lost and those who survived the abuses of the colonization and commodification of women. In the work, the goddess Yemaya—a patron spirit of women in the Yoruba religion—is accompanied by an excerpt read and written by author Desiree C. Bailey and original music played on the conch shell by Avila Santos.