[The Art Newspaper] Artists visualise Los Angeles’s recent and pre-human histories in Lacma and Snapchat’s latest augmented reality collaboration

The second edition of the digital art partnership features Snapchat lenses by artists Judy Baca, Kang Seung Lee and Sandra de la Loza

by Scarlet Cheng

The second round of augmented reality (AR) projects organised by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) and Snapchat, titled Monumental Perspectives, launches today (18 April). Following the project’s inauguration a year ago, for the second round

artists Judy Baca, Kang Seung Lee and Sandra de la Loza were chosen to realise AR “lenses” accessible in three different locations in Los Angeles, and just about everywhere else. All users need is a smart phone and the Snapchat app, and they can access the lenses by scanning the posted Snapcodes with the scanner within the app.

Rita Gonzalez, head of contemporary art at Lacma, has been a key member of the museum’s curatorial team overseeing the project (a team that includes museum director Michael Govan). She says the project is a way to rethink public monuments, a hot topic for the past five years.

“We’ve seen a lot of contestation and deconstructions of historical monuments all over the world,” she says, “that have kind of coincided with calls for justice and recognising political reckoning.” The project’s organisers looked for artists “who have a long history of working with the public in different ways” she says, but weren’t necessarily experts in AR or web-based platforms. Snapchat paired them with programmers to create the animations.

Baca’s The River Once Ran also looks back in time with a lens intended to be seen alongside the famous half-mile-long mural she designed in the 1970s, The Great Wall of Los Angeles, which is painted on the sides of a flood control channel in North Hollywood. (Her lens will be available there later this summer.) It shows a creekbed teeming with plants and animals, including a coyote pausing to take a drink from the flowing water.

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