Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Pedro Lasch: Artist-In-Residence

Pedro Lasch was an Artist-In-Residence at Lycoming College October 17-22, 2016. Lasch created a collaborative installation at the Lycoming College Art Gallery with Lycoming College and Williamsport Area High School art students, faculty and local artists. The installation included two large map murals painted on the walls of the gallery, one representing the changing demographics of North and South America and one representing the ten most gerrymandered electoral districts in the United States, and a series of images created in workshops held during the residency using mirror masks.

Maps and masks are objects to be used, not just contemplated. They are also social tools par excellence. Bringing together activities and displays from his Naturalizations mask series (begun 2002) and his Latino/a America mapping project (begun 2003), Pedro Lasch's exhibition and residency at Lycoming College engaged students and the local community in the creation of new works. The exhibition combined site-specific mural painting, installation, and social practice, addressing a range of topics and communities.

Naturalizations consists of the production and distribution of various kinds of rectangular mirror masks, all to be used in specific social situations. The process and title of the series invites participants to constantly question the "natural" and those institutions – religious, mythological, or governmental – that claim not only to know what is "natural" but are even ready to issue their own stamps of "naturalization." Naturalizations projects have included hundreds of participants and dozens of partnering institutions. Recently, in Washington D.C., Lasch worked with Provisions Library to collaborate with various individuals and organizations, hosting interventions at The Phillips Collection, National Gallery of Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Latino Center, and George Mason University.

The Latino/a America series is based on the presentation and distribution of a new map of the American continent, and the development of public art forms that are dispersed in everyday social spaces and exchanges. While it may be seen as a monument to the epics of migration, its goal is also to critically reflect on the form and function of conventional monuments. The words "Latino/a" and "America" acquire different meanings depending on the context, and reflect on the deep impact of population shifts in our culture. The common tie between all of the different versions is the sharing of a new "Latinidad" that extends globally, and is redefining the English speaking world. We are changing what "America" means, and what it means to be "American." Featured in the Atlas of Radical Cartography and used as the cover of many publications, this project has also been exhibited at PS1 MoMA, CAC New Orleans, Parc Saint Leger (France), and many other places around the world.