The Assata Center
Augmented reality monument, geolocated at the current site of the Los Angeles Police Protective League (1308 West 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90017), 4th Wall app
The Assata Center, screenshot from the 4th Wall app, 2021. Photo by Frankie Fleming; Headquarters of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, 2021. Photo by Audrey Chan.
Over the summer of 2021, with a grant from the Mellon Foundation and in editorial partnership with Philadelphia-based Monument Lab’s Bulletin, Oxy Arts launched "Encoding Futures: Speculative Monuments for L.A.", a remote summer residency program. Over a 3-month period, artists Nancy Baker-Cahill, Audrey Chan, Joel Garcia with Meztli Projects and Patrick Martinez researched and developed original virtual monuments to be geo-located at sites across Los Angeles. The monuments are accessible for the public to view through the 4th Wall app.
The prompt for the residency was to conceive a blueprint for a site-specific imagined future, and consider technologically enabled transformations that might shape the future of the site.
Audrey Chan's The Assata Center sits on top of the current site of the LA Police Protective League (LAPPL) building. The LAPPL building is a living monument to corruption and brutality, it houses the day-to-day work that keeps the police from being held accountable. Audrey Chan imagines a near future where the building has been replaced by a community center, The Assata Center. Black Lives Matter Los Angeles (BLM-LA) hosts a weekly gathering at the site of the existing LAPPL building to demand an end to police associations. Chan’s artwork builds on this call to action—her work visualizes what would be possible if we re-directed funds and resources away from policing and towards community care.
Chan created a survey to get input on what community members would like to see in the place of the existing LAPPL building. The new community center is covered in plants and butterflies and includes a garden and play area. In this imagined future, the building is off-grid, powered by solar, and free from police and surveillance. On one wall, we see freedom fighter Assata Shakur’s quote, which is read at the end of every BLM-LA gathering by Black Lives Matter Youth Vanguard.
Essay by Audrey Chan for Monument Lab Bulletin, September 21, 2021
The Assata Center, screenshot of 3D architectural rendering from Blender, 2021
Interview by Frankie Fleming, video by Ian Byers-Gamber for OxyArts
"Encoding Futures: Speculative Monuments for L.A." panel discussion with Nancy Baker Cahill, Audrey Chan, Joel Garcia with Meztli Projects, and Patrick Martinez in conversation with Dr. Patricia Kim (October 7, 2021)