Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Bowery Ghost ships: The art trade exports surplus bodies.

Yesterday I was writing about my trip back to Brentford but I suppose what I was really writing about were the changes to the town and in particular how working class people had been driven out over the last 20 years or so.

What a coincidence - I came across this very powerful video by accident today and it's dealing with pretty much the same thing.

Where do people go to when they can't afford to live where they grew up?

The video was made by Deborah Natsios who is an architect as well as an artist and is the partner of John Young, another architect. Together they run 'Cryptome' which is a famous whistle blowing website.

The video is a work of art in itself - I love the use of Steve Reich's music.

But really it charts the gentrification of 'The Bowery', a district of New York that used to be associated with poverty.

Not so much these days - now there is a new art gallery and it's brought with it speculators and developers who have been snapping up the old buildings and converting them to offices and expensive homes.

There are fashionable loft apartments in The Bowery now!

The video asks the same question I was asking - where do the people go?

I like art and I like modern art too but increasingly it's being used as a battering ram to change towns or districts - a few year ago there was a big and bitter battle on 'The Stade', part of the old town in Hastings on the south coast.

'The Stade' is where all the fishermen's huts are and where they beach their boats.

A swish London Gallery built a branch smack in the middle of the fishermen's workplace, right at the top of the beach.

For the Tory council it was a chance to change the working and slightly smelly part of town and bring in a different class of people.

The fishermen lost that battle and there are definitely changes happening now.

This is a battle that's raging from The Bowery to Brentford from Hastings to the old East End of London.

Here's the link to the video, it takes a little while to get going but it's only about 10 minutes long and it's very powerful;

Bowery Ghost ships: The art trade exports surplus bodies.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com

Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

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