“The Mission Y2K?” is a research and public art project by artist John Jota Leaños in collaboration with three students from the San Francisco High School of the Arts (SOTA). The primary objective of the work was to establish a creative partnership that would extend out into the larger community of San Francisco. The project resulted in a public digital mural and a gallery exhibition at the Galería de la Raza that artistically mapped a historical cycle of displacement and resistance in the Mission District of San Francisco. The digital mural and documentation was displayed at 24th and Bryant Street from November, 1999 to March, 2000.
The Mission District is a historically poor, immigrant district of San Francisco that has gone through many variations from the time when the Ohlone Indians traversed the area until the present SUV tromping. Since the mid-forties, the Mission’s demographic has been predominantly Latino, but has always produced a rare cultural blend. The research was directed at revealing the cultural diversity of the district; however, this was stymied by the lack of data encountered on the Mission. It was through research into these empty spaces and untold stories of the district’s forgotten histories that we were able to recognize tendencies of genocide, “culturacide,” removal and resistance to these forces that span from the 17th century until the present. We collected written documents, oral histories and historic images to recreate and pay homage to the infinite number of floating, undocumented stories that hover in and around the southern part of the peninsula.
The project sought to activate historical memory by juxtaposing advanced capitalistic techno-visions of a futuristic monoculture informed by historical amnesia with erased peoples and cultures that have once occupied the space of the Mission. The digital mural project considered the neighborhood’s rich history of mural making as well as the influx of corporate billboards as it referenced the mural aesthetic while straddling the line of advertising language. Essentially, the billboard stood as a creative form of resistance to the oppressive economic forces of gentrification all-too-present in San Francisco.
Document No. 1998-1
Document No. 1795
“Never before in history has a people been swept away with such terrible swiftness, or appalled into utter and whispering silence forever, as were the California Indians.”
Document No. 1980-s
Document No. 1969-71
Document No. 1990-s