Fog Meditations brought Angelenos together through Current:LA Water. (David Tobin/LOL-LA)
The City of Los Angeles is breaking new ground all the time, and that remained the case this summer. From July 16 through Aug. 14, the art you would normally find in museums by way of magnificent installation used the town as its gallery in the Current:LA Public Art Biennial. Events and pop-ups appeared all over Los Angeles due to the hard work and vision of the Department of Cultural Affairs.
This new initiative aimed at not only bringing art into the wild, but something much more meaningful. When you add art to the natural environment, it stands out and gets your attention; this brings people together. The community aspect of Current:LA is huge. It’s giving people that may have never talked to each other, but live in the same building, some common ground. It’s a social icebreaker, if you will, and it works.
I checked out the Fog Meditations exhibit in Baldwin Hills at the Norman O. Houston Park. It was the brainchild of Chris Kallmyer and done perfectly.
A geometric dome stood covered in sections of canvas with a plastic white wrap at its base. Inside, the floor was covered in fresh bark groundcover. One end of the space had a sustainable garden, and the opposite had two benches in the back.
Set in front of the garden were two blankets that were marked with microphones, some gear, instruments and singing bowls. This was all for Kallmyer and L.A.-based experimental vocalist and contemporary composer Odeya Nini to perform.
The theme of Current:LA this time around is Water. Each installation revolved around Los Angeles, the roles water plays in the life, and death of this city. Fog Meditations used water in its transitory state of fog and music. The duo were performing a sound bath meditation at sundown while the fog enveloped the crowd and passed on into the rest of the park.
I peeked a few times through the session and would catch onlookers passing by, some hanging out and others talking to people as they gathered and smiled. Some brought kids near and even a dog or two. This very out-of-place dome with its equally foreign locals in the middle resonated with all those around.
Taking something that would never be done in this kind of space and then putting it around people that most likely wouldn’t seek this out, brought them together. It was a wonderful thing to see and the root of why the City of Los Angeles went to the depths it did to make things like this available.
The community is the strongest part of a town, and the city knows that and has involved the right people to bring it to life. This was a treat, and from the reaction of those that participated, a breath of fresh air that they hope to see more of.
To get all the information on Current:LA, visit currentla.org.