ROTO PASADENA was a trilogy of animated installations that took place at the Pasadena Civic Center on August 13, 2016, sponsored by the Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division and Side Street Projects as part of a National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” grant.
This community-based, public art project was created by Lisa Mann and Yo-Yo Lin in collaboration with two teen groups: YouthBuild, serving teens in foster care, and La Pintoresca Teen Education Center (LPTEC), a free, after-school arts program in Northwest Pasadena.
Through workshops conducted by Lisa and Yo-Yo, YouthBuild students interviewed and filmed Pasadena Police officers and City Hall employees to gain an understanding of their philosophy and responsibilities and to investigate deeper questions of race and identity.
LPTEC teens, under the guidance of LA poet Angela Aguirre, wrote and performed a spoken word poem "My City Is a Place Where..." in which they described the joys and the challenges of growing up in Northwest Pasadena. This inspiring and honest poem became the soundtrack for a short film the students made illustrating their thoughts and feelings about their home town.
Lisa also interviewed 13 of her Pasadena neighbors about their wide-ranging interests.
The resulting videos were then hand-traced or “rotoscoped,” one frame at a time, by Lisa, Yo-Yo, and a team of eight artists. They created colorful, digital animations that were projection mapped two stories high directly onto the massive gates of the Central Library, a corner of the majestic City Hall, and the facade of the Police Station, as site-specific installations along Garfield Avenue.
The collaboration successfully utilized art to open a two-way dialogue and create empathy and understanding between Pasadena officials and the citizens--especially teens--that they serve and protect.