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Lacma and Snapchat’s AR Collaboration has Pushed Artists to Visualise Both Present and Pre-Human Histories of Los Angeles

The second digital art partnership version features Snapchat lenses created by artists including Kang Seung Lee, Sandra de la Loza, and Judy Baca


Snapchat and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) organized the second edition of an Augmented Reality (AR) project titling it Monumental Perspectives which was launched on April 18. Earlier after the project’s inauguration, Kang Seung Lee, Sandra de la Loza, and Judy Baca were specially chosen for making AR lenses accessible in three different locations in Los Angeles. Nearly every smartphone needs the Snapchat app for fun and enjoyment. With this, users can easily access the lenses by scanning the posted Snapcodes with the scanner that is within the app.


Rita Gonzalez, head of contemporary art at Lacma, has been a principal member of the curatorial team of the museum that is supervising the project. The team also includes Michael Govan, the director of the museum. She remarked that the initiative is a method to change the perspective on public monuments that have been a hot topic for the past five years.


Further, she said that they have seen a lot of Historical monuments being challenged and deconstructed all around the world, that have kind of coincided with calls for justice and recognising of political reckoning. Following her previous statement, she added that the organisers seeked artists with decorated histories of working with the public in different ways. She clarified that they are not searching for experts at all. Snapchat helped to associate them with programmers for developing animations.


The project is a good fit for de la Loza who regards herself as a research-based artist meant for investigating histories. She has also given much thought to monuments and has previously created site-specific work. In What the Willow Whispers, at Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park, the pavement breaks opened to reveal an outpouring of native plants and animals earlier from Los Angeles. Featured in the animation, she said that the willow tree that would have come up aside from Compton Creek is now passing nearby and running through the community and that’s why she pays homage to those erased native ecosystems. She added that she tried to make the underlayers of the built environment visible.


Baca’s The River Once Ran also looks back in time with a lens intended to be seen along with the famed half-mile mural, The Great Wall of Los Angeles, designed by de la Loza. This mural is painted on the sides of a flood control channel in North Hollywood. She is planning to make her lens visible later in such areas. It displays a creekbed full of animals and plants, including a coyote pausing to take a drink from the flowing water.


Lee’s work, la revolución es la solución, has more contemporary references, precisely for the murder of Latasha Harlins. The references here are made by a storeowner of Korean-American origin.


Using animated kites floating in the sky at the Algin Sutton Recreation Center, Lee attempts to turn their attention to activists who have worked to reconstruct settlements. Harlins, throughout his childhood, regularly visited the playground present there. It was renamed last year to honour her.


Location contributes contextual meaning to every piece of work in Monumental Perspectives, but Snapchat users can easily access the lenses sitting in any area in the world.


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