I just Submitted my proposal for MoCADA's The Gentrification of Brooklyn: The Pink Elephant Speaks, curated by Dexter Wimberly. Here I share my statement of work as well as a few images...
Statement of Work | The Gentrification of Brooklyn: The Pink Elephant Speaks
‘The Pink Elephant Speaks’ is an opportunity to utilize another mass consumable item into my art making practice: the paper bag. During my almost 6-year tenure as a Brooklyn resident, I bear witness to the subtle and striking changes that gentrification dictates. One of the most apparent gentrification markers is the type of eateries that are introduced to the community-scape. Chinese food shops with visual menus on light-box displays, regal/presidential chicken fry-houses, and neighborhood pizza parlors- with their oily white paper bags- abound. Healthful options are almost non-existent, save for the ital/juice bars that are vastly outnumbered by their diabetic counterparts.
And then, quietly, a 24 hour grocery is opened- with a generous selection of seasonal produce and heat n’ serve entrees that are more ‘holistic’ than ‘Hungry Man™’. Next it’s the takeout stands that are introduced, sans the bulletproof glass, and that ridiculous cashier carousel. And finally, here comes the sit-down restaurants, whose menu includes a Manhattan cache. Human beings often connect through food, and I believe there are emotional, spiritual, and psychological aspects to sustaining ourselves through digestion. But, if we are to use the previous observations as an example, it’s as if a line of demarcation serves to reiterate that only certain people are worthy of a wider range of options.
I seek to illustrate this sense of difference by using paper bags collected from Brooklyn restaurants, take out stands, and bodegas. Bags that have been used, and have visible remnants of their original contents, are preferred. Coupled with nylon threads (which, strangely enough, I’ve only found in Brooklyn), I will create site-specific structures. The twisting, circular objects made from these multiples comment upon the effects of gentrification on the range of foods made available to the community.
Paper Bag Helix (a work in progress) by Kenya (Robinson) © 2009 | Dimensions Variable | Paper Bags, Binder Clips, and Coffee Stirrers