These ceremonial dances are the centerpiece of her short film, Ch’u Mayaa (Maya Blue), on view currently at the PST show “Condemned to Be Modern” at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. Coincidentally, the gallery sits next door to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, which stars in Tossin’s film—not as a bad-guy lair, but a temple for ritual dance. The idea came, she says, after studying the placement of platforms and hieroglyphs within Mayan temples.
“The way the body circulates in that space is very performative, even in terms of the meticulous dexterity used to carve the hieroglyphs,” Tossin says. With dancer and choreographer, Crystal Sepúlveda, the film reinserts the Mayan body into Wright’s temple, using the gestures depicted in these images, and overlaid with the sounds of exotic birds.
To Tossin, the Mayan aspect of this house is too often overlooked. “The idea was to make work that appropriates the building back and asks that this work of architecture be discussed in the context of a lineage of Mayan language.” In short, giving credit where it is due.