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Fulcrum Arts and the Los Angeles State Historic Park co-present Procession, a multi-faceted civic activation initiated by artist Debra Scacco and co-organized with artist Joel Garcia that traces the geographic and cultural memory of Los Angeles through the legacy of the Los Angeles River (Paayme Paxaayt). Through oral history and storytelling activities, educational workshops, a performance involving hundreds of Angelenos, a free public festival and an augmented reality exhibition, this collaborative work invites residents and participants to engage with the history of the ground beneath their feet, and to be active agents of change simply by caring for human and more than human systems.

The Procession performance, which will take place October 21, 2023, is a movement based social sculpture that will trace three historical courses of the Los Angeles River (Paayme Paxaayt). Procession is comprised of a 3-part walking ritual, with each segment led by performing artist members of the Tonga and Chumash tribal communities (LA’s First Peoples): Lazaro Arvizu (Tongva); Jessa Calderon and Tina Calderon (Tongva/Chumash); and Nobuko Miyamoto & Great Leap’s FandangObon, each of whom will develop choreographed movements and distinctive aesthetic and cultural approaches in community workshops that reflect their origins and traditions.

Upon arrival at Los Angeles State Historic Park, the three processions are met by a festival focused on the water ecology of California. This event will host River-focused creative workshops, panel discussions and a critical opportunity to learn from communities who have been disenfranchised by the diversion of water. Public activations will occur by local artists including Lauren Bon and The Metabolic Studio, and The Chapter House, a Los Angeles based organization that provides a space for Indigenous Peoples and allies to appreciate art, convene and collaborate, celebrate individual and shared Indigenous cultures, and explore the complexities of the 21st Century Indigenous experience.

The Defining Line AR exhibition places geo-locked site relevant artworks in augmented reality along the LA River. Inspired by stories shared during oral history gathering, the augmented reality component will expand the project across the 51-mile length of the river and encourage viewers to continue their education and experience of the river beyond the day of the event. A map will be produced in conjunction with the exhibition. Defining Line is a collaboration with artist Nancy Baker Cahill and the 4th Wall App.

Joel Garcia (Huichol) is an Indigenous artist and cultural organizer that uses Indigenous-based frameworks to center those most impacted, and arts-based strategies to raise awareness of issues facing underserved communities, youth, and other targeted populations. He previously served as Co-Director at Self Help Graphics & Art (‘10-’18) and is the co-founder of Meztli Projects, an Indigenous-based arts & culture collaborative centering indigeneity into the creative practice of Los Angeles.

Debra Scacco’s research-based practice is dedicated to lateralizing knowledge to challenge hierarchies and historic structures of power. In addition to an active studio practice, Scacco is Founding Director of climate-focused creative research program Air, Co-Director of Getty Pacific Standard Time project Brackish Water Los Angeles, and Co-Founder of art worker trade cooperative Contemporary Art League.

Lazaro Arvizu Jr. is an artist, educator, musician, and researcher dedicated to the culture of the first people of Los Angeles. Born in the Los Angeles Basin, he is knowledgeable of the landscape and cosmology of the Gabrieleno culture. He has worked for over 20 years facilitating creative and meaningful cultural experiences to people of all ages and walks of life, in many venues.

Jessa Calderon is the Land, Water and Climate Justice Director for Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples. Jessa is a songwriter, published author, poet, hip hop artist, performer, basket weaver, paddler, hypnotherapist, massage therapist, energy worker and offers guided meditations.

Tina Calderon is a Culture Bearer of Gabrielino Tongva, Chumash and Yoeme descent. She is also a traditional singer & dancer, storyteller & poet who strives to honor her ancestors and inspire others to respect the lands, water, sacred elements and environment.

Nobuko Miyamoto is an icon of Asian American music and activism. Growing up in the 1940s as a third-generation Japanese American “without a song of my own,” she found her voice in the 1960s revolutionary movements. Across five decades, she has forged a creative practice that thrives on community and collaboration, continuing today with a fire for justice.

Great Leap’s FandangObon convenes into one circle to include participatory music and dance traditions of Fandango of Vera Cruz, Mexico rooted in African, Mexican and indigenous music; Japanese Buddhist Obon circle dances in remembrance of ancestors; and West African dance and drums of Nigeria and New Guinea.

Lauren Bon is an environmental artist from Los Angeles, California. Her practice, The Metabolic Studio, explores self-sustaining and self-diversifying systems of exchange that feed emergent properties that regenerate the life web. Some of her works include: Not A Cornfield (2005–2006), which transformed and revived an industrial brownfield in downtown Los Angeles into a 32-acre cornfield for one agricultural cycle and began what is now the Los Angeles State Historic Park; 100 Mules Walking the Los Angeles Aqueduct (2013), a 240-mile performative action that aimed to reconnect the city of Los Angeles with the source of its water for the centenary of the opening of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. Her studio’s current work, Bending the River, aims to utilize Los Angeles’s first private water right to deliver 106-acre feet of water annually from the LA River to over 50 acres of land in the historic core of downtown LA. This model can be replicated to regenerate the 52-mile LA River, reconnect it to its floodplain, and form a citizens’ utility.

Nancy Baker Cahill is an award-winning new media artist who examines systemic power, selfhood, and embodied consciousness through drawing and shared immersive space. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of 4th Wall, a free Augmented Reality (AR) art platform exploring resistance and inclusive creative expression.

Procession is made possible with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and Parks California.

Documentation