January 15, 2023 – May 28, 2023
Los Angeles State Historic Park
For Submersion is a public artwork by Los Angeles artist Sarah Rosalena commissioned by Clockshop and submerged, in a year of landmark rainfall, at the Los Angeles State Historic Park watershed.
Before settler colonization, Los Angeles State Historic Park was the floodplain of Paayme Paxaayt, the Los Angeles River, that supported Tongva people and wildlife. For Submersion recalls the Los Angeles River’s importance by honoring its history as an ancestral pathway. The mediums used to create For Submersion highlight Rosalena’s attention to the river’s evolution over time. In honoring practices used in the past and present, she merges craft and digital arts as a way to interpret and reenvision land.
For Submersion is both a physical work and digital artifact, which aims to renarrativize, through yarn painting, the river’s temporalities and historicity as a watershifter. Rosalena adorned a river rock from Paayme Paxaayt with Wixárika yarn painting, a method of image-making traditionally done with beeswax, pine sap, and handspun yarn that has been passed down in her family for generations. The yarn represents a throughline to mother earth and to the matrilineal bloodline of weavers in her family. The yarn painted rock was 3D scanned, then digitally fabricated into a physical sculpture that will collect and interact with rainwater. In addition, a large commissioned textile was handwoven as a companion piece using satellite imagery of historic courses of the Los Angeles River as a weaving pattern on a TC2 Jacquard loom.
“Sarah’s practice honors traditional craft through its digital manipulation, recasting how we position Indigenous knowledge within our present and future. Her work elicits Native futurity, and explores the relationship between land, culture, natural resources, and the digital worlds we must inhabit,” says Clockshop Director Sue Bell Yank. “Her monumental river rock sculpture within LA State Historic Park is both a keystone for bridging multiple worlds, and a prayer for different, generative, and abundant modes of interacting with them.”
Central to this commission is a partnership with The Chapter House, an Indigenous-led arts organization that provides space for Indigenous Peoples and allies to appreciate art and celebrate individual and shared Indigenous cultures, and explore the complexities of the 21st-century Indigenous experience. In the arts workshop series Weaving the Park, Clockshop collaborated with The Chapter House and Rosalena to lead hands-on workshops for intertribal Indigenous youth, engaging them with the land at Los Angeles State Historic Park through Native craft and digital technology. Each workshop was designed to mirror the process for creating For Submersion, wherein technology functions as a means of digital preservation and archive for future generations. Learn more about Weaving the Park here.
Use the map above to guide you in your visit to For Submersion.
Los Angeles State Historic Park: 1543 N Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Sarah Rosalena (Wixárika) is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher based in Los Angeles. Her work deconstructs technology with material interventions, creating new narratives for hybrid objects that function between human/nonhuman, ancient/future, and handmade/autonomous to override power structures rooted in colonialism. She is an Assistant Professor of Art at UC Santa Barbara in Computational Craft and Haptic Media. She has received awards from Creative Capital; the LACMA Art + Tech Lab; Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation; the Steve Wilson Award from Leonardo; the International Society for Art, Sciences, and Technology; and the Craft Futures Grant from the Center for Craft. Rosalena recently showed her work at Frieze LA and Blum & Poe Gallery.
For Submersion was commissioned by Clockshop and supported through our long-standing partnership with California State Parks. The production of this work was generously supported by the California Arts Council, Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, and the Pasadena Art Alliance, with additional support from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, and Clockshop’s generous community of supporters. Special thanks to Arktura for their donation of services to fabricate this project.