Brognon-Rollin: Maybe Some of Us Will Change This
Opening March 17, 4-6pm
Open Wed-Fri, 11-7pm, Sat-Sun, 11-6pm
Maybe some of us will change this—a phrase from a student essay about justice—lodged itself into the psyche of artists David Brognon and Stéphanie Rollin, aka Brognon-Rollin, during their month-long residency with France Los Angeles Exchange (FLAX) and ICA LA at Metropolitan Continuation High School in Downtown Los Angeles. Metropolitan provides an alternative study program to help youth complete their high school diploma. Maybe some of us will change this, expresses hope and ambition with a dash of realistic uncertainty.
Their time at Metropolitan High School allowed Brognon-Rollin to make work based on their practice of embedding themselves in a community. Their process involved a journey to the Mexican border and a collaboration with a sound engineer, educators, and the students themselves. The phrase, maybe some of us will change this, reflects a desire to address current tensions around migration, the “Border Wall,” and intolerance.
The Oaxacan whistling language of Mazatec is an indigenous form of communication from the agricultural region of Oaxaca. Whistled language is designed to travel beyond the average distance of the spoken word. It moves melodically across valleys and through thick mountain fog from farmer to farmer. This method of communication struck Brognon-Rollin as the perfect way to transmit the student’s hopeful message through sound—unstoppable by a border or a wall.
Maybe some of us will change this was translated into Spanish, then into spoken Mazatec, and finally into whistled Mazatec by linguist and educator Eloy Garcia who is dedicated to protecting this indigenous language. Garcia traveled from his village of Huautla de Jimenez to Tijuana to whistle the phrase at the seaside border fence that separates Mexico and the United States. The sound of the phrase was received and recorded by Brognon-Rollin on the US side of the fence and brought back to Los Angeles.
Metropolitan High School students learned to whistle the phrase and were recorded by the artists. The recordings of the students’ whistled phrases will be presented in three ways: through the Metropolitan High School’s PA system; through an immersive sound installation at ICA LA; and through soundtracks on ice cream trucks as they drive around local neighborhoods.
Mazatec is one of the oldest remaining whistled languages in the world. It is in jeopardy of being lost to modern communication technology. Maybe some of us will change this.
To learn more about Mazatec, see this video.
“Whistles, Borders, and Ice Cream Trucks: An artist talk with Brognon-Rollin” moderated by Asuka Hisa, Director of Learning and Engagement, ICA LA and Anna Milone, Program Director and Curator, FLAX
March 20, 7-9pm
Artists David Brognon and Stéphanie Rollin, aka Brognon-Rollin, are recognized for absorbing strong contexts—from prisons to corporate factory shut downs to under-resourced schools. On the occasion of their project Maybe Some of Us Will Change This with ICA LA and the FLAX Foundation, they will present their approaches to make conceptual work that hacks social realities. They are dedicated to serving the human element through collaboration and with such forms as sound installations, time-based work, and sculpture.
Listen to their talk here.
Maybe some of us will change this is a multi-site sound-based work developed during their month-long residency with France Los Angeles Exchange (FLAX) and ICA LA at Metropolitan Continuation High School in Downtown Los Angeles.
The exhibition is made possible by generous support from ICA LA.
Special thanks to Eloy Garcia, Alfonso Garza, Astrid and Eddie Sykes & Antoine Bertin – Studio SoundAnything