John Leaños


The Mission Y2K? Dome


The public art project The Mission Y2K? arose out of an historical investigation of the Mission District of San Francisco by John Leaños and three high school students from the San Francisco High School of the Arts (SOTA). The "digital mural" displayed at the Galería de la Raza in November of 1999 engaged the Mission District community in the question of what the historically Latino/working-class neighborhood would look like in the Year 2000. The work was a direct response to gentrification of the community and to the displacement of many long-time businesses and residents. We used the image of the jet-propelled snow dome to communicate the imminent danger of a corporate dominated monoculture sweeping through the district under the guise of progress and the dot-com revolution. As this 'New Culture.com' flew into the 21st century, the diverse communities that had been an integral part of the District would be forgotten. In the exhaust of the dome, we placed historical images of the Mission that were being left behind. By documenting the cycle of displacement and culturacide in the history of the Mission, the work offered itself as a statement of resistance to gentrification occurring in the community. An interpretive history and web site (www.historical-circle.org) detailing the research accompanied the mural.




Oppositional Panel


The Oppositional Panel is the third panel in a triptych entitled Los restos coloniales se manifiestan en el olvido. The work deals with the new ways in which colonialism manifests itself through the control of language (i.e. anti-bilingual education legislation in California), space and image. These strategies seem to promote a general historical amnesia in society and tend to cover up the complexities of the social fabric. The image of the Oppositional Panel depicts a female aborigine, as the subject of the colonial photometric system, juxtaposed against an image of a corporate woman, as part of the capitalist power structure. This juxtaposition brings to the forefront a series of questions regarding various issues including the subjugation of the female image via the photograph and power, control and complicity in image making.