Week 8: Maru Gracia and Pinar Yoldas: A Short Review

     Last week, we looked at two presentations Vacuoles by Maru Garcia and Causality is Broken: Can we Fix it with Art + Design by Pinar Yoldas. Both presentations spoke of the pollution and atrocities mankind has created on the earth and both presenters bring awareness to the subject.

     Maru Garcia’s presentation Vacuoles talks about the lead pollution in Southeast L.A. All this pollution comes from a local battery recycling plant called Exide Technologies which was brought to a halt a few months before the end of 2015 (Barboza, 2015). Maru found that various plants were capable of absorbing the lead pollution through a specialized cellular organ known as a vacuole, which function as reservoirs for ions and metabolites and aid in the process of detoxification (Marty, 1999). These plants include mustard seed, clovers and even fish bones.


A. Pictures of Maru’s Display at UCLA

     Maru’s display used copper built “vacuoles” containing soil contaminated with lead pollution from the battery recycling plant. The 28 vacuoles displayed contained soil from 28 different places throughout Southeast L.A. Maru also placed projections on the walls displaying the local battery plant, plants able to remove lead pollution from the soil and areas in Southeast L.A. that are contaminated. This was a great display by Maru and informed a majority of the class the damages that occur. A new article says that 43 children have been affected as lead build up have been found in their teeth (Galindo, 2019).

     Pinar Yoldas presented all of her works that were central to the idea of breaking causality. She believes the reason we are not worried about global warming is that the effects are not in our everyday “bubble” or umwelt and the effects of let's say a plastic bottle are imperceptible to us. Below is a picture that explains this:


B. Yoldas Idea behind breaking the umwelt; breaking the bubble of perceptibility

     This idea was was behind all of Pinar Yoldas projects; breaking the umwelt. The way this was to be done was to create a new culture that showed us how our pollution is affecting us and making the imperceptible, perceptible to us humans. One example was the Global Warming yoga, as Pinar states it “offers a collective sweating experience in the face of the impending consequences of global warming” (Yoldas, 2016).


C. Global Warming Yoga Studio

     It is this multidisciplinary approach that Yoldas (and Maru have) that are crucial to advancing the current problems we are facing. Indeed, artists have a vital role “in communicating the environmental complexity to make it understandable” (Young, 2019).


Barboza, Tony. “How a Battery Recycler Contaminated L.A.-Area Homes for Decades.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 21 Dec. 2015, www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-exide-cleanup-story-so-far-20151121-story.html.


Galindo, Erick. “There's Lead in the Baby Teeth of Children Living Near the Southeast L.A. Exide Battery Plant ~ L.A. TACO.” L.A. TACO, 7 May 2019, www.lataco.com/exide-lead-found-in-baby-teeth/.


“Global Warming Hot Yoga Studio, 2016.” Pinar Yoldas, pinaryoldas.info/Global-Warming-Hot-Yoga-Studio-2016.


Marty, Francis. “Plant Vacuoles.” Plant Cell, American Society of Plant Biologists, 1 Apr. 1999, www.plantcell.org/content/11/4/587/tab-article-info.


Young, Nina. “Alumna Delivers Lecture on Role the Arts Play in Environmental Awareness.” Daily Bruin, 23 May 2019, dailybruin.com/2019/05/23/alumna-delivers-lecture-on-role-the-arts-play-in-environmental-awareness/.



A. Pictures were taken by me at the UCLA Wright Gallery

B. Picture was taken by me

C. https://dailybruin.com/2019/05/23/alumna-delivers-lecture-on-role-the-arts-play-in-environmental-awareness/