[this post follows up on previous posts on artist Gaia posted on this blog]
The project will install 15 large street art pieces with posted info that reveals/publicizes the ownership of dilapidated vacant houses.
Using radical methods, our project will unite three forces to catalyze discussion of Baltimore’s vacancy problem and how to solve it:
Wall Hunters Inc, a recently created, street artist run non profit organization
Baltimore Slumlord Watch
a film being made that gives voice to the ignored on the topic of vacancy and the power of street art.
In short, the project will bring together 15 artists from around the country, each of whom will install a large piece on a dilapidated vacant house. QR codes and text detailing the ownership information that is uncovered by Slumlord Watch will accompany the art. Voices of the people who live in these neglected areas of town, will be heard Continue reading →
Anthropology By the Wire is an NSF REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) media anthropology project of Baltimore now in its 3rd year. Undergraduates accepted to the program would receive a stipend for their work in June and July of 2013. The application can be found here.
It has been 10 years since David Simon’s “The Wire” premiered on HBO. A product of Simon’s long-time partnership with Ed Burns, a retired Baltimore City homicide detective, “The Wire” presented Baltimore through the lens of police officers, drug dealers, troubled children, educators. A Dickensian drama-from-below, Simon’s series grew more and more complex through its five seasons. Actively working to challenge easy interpretations of Baltimore’s problems, Simon refused to indulge in the usual media reduction of urban life to pathologized caricatures.
Over those 10 years, some anthropologists began to include “The Wire” in their courses, presumably because they found it ethnographically interesting. And it is, but not because it offers an empirical “window” onto the lives of Baltimore’s urban poor. Instead, “The Wire” is interesting because it presents the complexities of white, middle-class perspectives on race and social class. It lays bare the tortured contradictions, the logical inconsistencies of dominant theoretical perspectives, from the neo-liberal, rational choice theory used to interpret some of The Wire’s more larger-than-life drug-dealers, to the structural interpretations examining the inequalities of education in the city. Ultimately, though, the series remains trapped in the puzzle-box of Continue reading →
Following up on a post here (reblogged below)–that got me thinking more about the work of art (and a project I’m working on regarding Henri Lefebvre’s thoughts on what he calls ‘the work’ combined with his thoughts on alienation) and its potential, I looked more into the street artist Gaia’s work in Baltimore on Howard Street. Images that form part of the artist’s “legacy series” are above–large images of Robert Moses and James Rouse.
The artist states that ‘I am calling this series Legacy and it is a very basic attempt to reinscribe the figures who have shaped our landscape back onto the surface of their legacy, the infrastructure and policies that we have inherited and must navigate.’
It seems to me that art realizes its potential–Lefebvre talks about the “creative capacity” of the artist, by which he means something quite specific–when it “starts with experience,” and when it brings together what are normally seen as separate, fragmented areas of experience (social, political, economic, etc.). Only in this way can it serve a disalienating function. Gaia’s work is such a great example of what Lefebvre points out.