An Auto-Ethnographic Study: The Bronx
Video stills and images from interventions
Place has become an important component in my work. Everywhere I have lived, being from New York City has largely defined who I am. I think that growing up here,
prepared me to live in different countries without culture shock. One of the amazing things about New York is its recognition of other within its grand diversity and distinct neighborhoods. Every area is a country and every street is a village. Often times other is not just specifically a race, but by class, political belief, and religion. New York City is largely defined by other because it has been other that has defined it. As more mini malls, chain stores, and real estate prices continue to replace small business and generations old residents in the boroughs, New York will lose the very charactrer that has attracted so many to it.
This project deals with housing changes occurring in the Bronx and its transformation which in some cases has been revitalizing, but at the same time has been the main ingredient of displacement and further stratification. The video documents my interventions using masks in public spaces throughout the borough during the mortgage crisis, worldwide food riots and the rising cost of living in NYC. I created masks out of newspaper headlines on location where I would sit for about 3 hours in a span of 8 weeks. I tried to sell one pound bags of rice, beans, and flour for $1000, $3000, and $5000 to cover a mortgage bailout. My interventions were unannounced and fleeting. Passersby were encouraged to come up to me. Many told me about their current living and housing situations as they responded to the items being sold.
The work has been made possible in part, by the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art, supported by the Jerome Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts.