As students surrounded The Project Room in Gallery V on Feb. 24, Whitney Davis, via Skype, and Natalie Casagran Lopez discussed their video documentation of their performance art along the LA River, “Babylon Babes in LA River Droughty Drag.”
The project was inspired by feminist views and always wanting more—just for the desire of it, instead of the need.
The video documentation points to Hollywood’s “thirst for fame characterized by a perennial state of unmet desire, as a core contributor to our water crisis,” states the curatorial statement.
By this, they demonstrate in a walk along the LA river through performance, and crying out loud. Going with the flow, and channeling their inner characters, they never went out of character.
For one of their performances, Davis dressed up as “La Llorona,” a Mexican legend about a woman who constantly cries for her children, and was portrayed by crying out and wasting tears away. By wasting tears, they are counteracting today’s habits of excessively wasting water.
One inspiration for the piece was the series “The Next Wave” at the Hammer Museum of “The Women and Water in the Developing World.” This specific series demonstrates the importance of the need for water for women in the developing world¬—those who traditionally collect water to wash, cook, drink, and clean in their everyday lives and the struggle they go through to gain access to water.
“I feel like a lot of people who are unwilling to accept the environmental impact or responsibility come back down to this simple and superficial necessities of taking a long shower or drinking too many water bottles” said Lopez. “Whereas for these women, water is a basic right to a natural resource but is so hard to come by that it affects their entire lives.”
To Davis and Lopez, collaborations were a big inspiration for this project to come to life, especially when it came to a feminist perspective.
“I think specifically what was interesting to me was the overarching theme that collaboration brought to the feminist art movement of the 70’s,” said Davis. “That’s another element that we knew we wanted to be part of our project.”
For the two, collaboration allowed them to access multiple perspectives and broaden content to their project.
Mahara T. Sinclaire, gallery art director at PCC, planned the water issues exhibit and brought Lopez and Davis in to collaborate. Lopez, a former student of Sinclaire’s at Glendale Community college, met Lopez while taking a painting class.
“I thought this was a great opportunity to bring an example of art by young emerging Los Angeles artists,” said Sinclaire.
Lopez and Davis showed another perspective of the drought by demonstrating it as a performance art piece.
“I’m very excited to have the piece that Natalie and Whitney did because I think its original. It’s on the money” said Sinclaire. “Their piece is basically talking about this sort of dramatic Hollywood excessive tears, wasting tears, and all this exaggerated sense of desire that is manufactured by the advertising business to encourage capitalism and consumerism.”
The exhibit was made to give the public new views and solutions to today’s water crisis and inspire to find ways to save water.
The gallery is open from Feb. 10 to March 25 at Gallery V108.