BY LORENA GARCIA
In.Memorial is a tribute to communal grief crafted by Landscape Architect Lorena Garcia inspired by urban makeshift shrines in response to the call from the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design Summer 2020 Exhibition, “Every. Thing. Changes.”
The LA Forum’s “call-and-response” process sought original works from five writers, to which five designers responded, then invited another five artists to produce responses to the existing text and/or design artifacts.
In.Memorial is the reaction to the psycho geographical poem by Viva Padilla, the founding editor in chief of Dryland, an independent and grassroots print literary journal. Ms. Padilla’s poem, Desmadre, utilizes Google Maps to triangulate the course of her chaos in driving throughout Los Angeles. As a reply to Desmadre, Lorena Garcia’s thrown ceramic vases, strategically displayed as street objects throughout Los Angeles landscapes, serve as multiple tributes to memories of normalcy, loved-ones lost to the Covid-19 pandemic, police brutality, and distressing deaths. The series is composed of fourteen containers, made via ‘coiling’—an ancient technique to shape clay—which enabled Ms. Garcia to ‘freewheel’, creating gestural contours and robust forms, inspired by the organic outlines of the human body and nature.
Sketch 1: Visions of vases splashed throughout Los Angeles’s urban grid, Lorena Garcia
These unique vessels invite pedestrians to fill, rest, and arrange their memorial tributes with flowers, commemorating communal grief for personal and public tragedy, as well as celebrating life in Los Angeles. As accessible, interactive, individualized monuments, In.Memorial provides a sense of universal belonging for community members to express and share their sorrows and joys. It is contemporary urban project, enabling the will of the people, and facilitating protest dialogue about the history, function, and prospect of monuments and social justice.
The installation is broadcast-escorted by an adaptation of Ms. Padilla poem composed by Sun Araw, a musical project helmed by Cameron Stallones, where synchronous radio field recordings and original music fill the urban exhibition spaces with universal, hypnotic sounds. These sounds lure the masked exhibition attendees towards the vessels to slow down, contemplate, and make floral contributions, inspiring a collective consciousness of commemoration.
In.Memorial is completed by a visual piece in which Lorena Garcia, starting from Viva´s Desmadre and the captivating tunes by Sun Araw, navigates through her own map of memories, along with vision of vases splashed throughout the urban grid.
LORENA GARCIA is a landscape architect and educator. Founder of PUENTEALAMEDA, an international landscape architecture firm based in Los Angeles and Madrid that explores creative and collaborative designs which address the complexity of natural processes. Projects include Reina Sofia Museum Master Plan (Madrid, Spain), Hotel Kamaroti (Sifnos, Greece), MediaLab-Prado Gardens (Madrid). As a designer, she studies experimental forms of representing the landscape through collages, which she has published in multiple independent zines over the years. Recently, Lorena took up ceramics and has begun to play with the medium to explore new potential urban objects. She moved to Los Angeles in 2012. Currently she is lecturing at the Landscape Architecture Department in the College of Environmental Design at Cal Poly Pomona, and at the Madrid School of Design (Spain).