Gentrification Article Response
I think that the article, “An Artists Guide to Not Being Complicit with Gentrification” has the strongest correlation to method one of the Design Justice Principles. The first objective listed of the Design Justice Principles states, “We use design to sustain, heal, and empower our communities, as well as to seek liberation from exploitative and oppressive systems.” (DesignJusticeNetwork.org). This could define any number of goals at outcomes depending on a designer’s objective. However, in the context of gentrification, it is most directly in reference to giving power back to those impacted by the system that allowed desires of predacious businessmen to surpass the needs of the community. This leads to Design Justice Principle 2, “we center the voices of those who are directly impacted by the outcomes of the design process” (DesignJusticeNetwork.org). By doing this, those who are traditionally forced into silence and shamed onto glass cliffs, are given a voice and a position to stand on a rightful podium of resilience. I do not think there are any new design justice principles, rather there are ways each approach toward facing gentrification has its own way of contributing to each of them.
Even though I may not be an artist in the traditional sense, I do have to take a step backward and acknowledge that I have benefitted from gentrification by attending Parsons and living in a student-housing facility 2 blocks away from Union Square. I remember speaking to a woman about my dorm one time. I told her that I lived by Union Square, sandwiched with other NYU and New School students. She nodded, swallowed her breath, and sighed.
“You know, when I was young and in New York, we were told not to go to around there because that was where all of the crackheads were. Back then, drug addiction was viewed as a criminal crisis. Today, drug addiction is considered a mental health crisis and a failure of the system. Do the people you see in Union Square look the same as the people suffering from the opioid epidemic in New Hampshire?”
I knew what she was saying. I knew what she was not saying.
I remember the time I went on a date with a boy who wanted to take me to see the stars. “We are going to the Beast of the East. The houses are pretty small and crappy, and I guess its pretty dark at night because no one keeps their lights on. But nobody goes there, which means there will be less noise, light pollution and more stars for us.” We went deep into the belly of the Beast of the East. The homes were indeed small, there were more stars than streetlights, the gusts of wind were stronger than the sound of people. It was not bestial. It was forgotten.
I was already quite satisfied with the original design of my values rubric. This time, I added compassion and integrity in the center of the two different value groups. I felt that the way in which I proposed guiding questions for all surrounding values of the circle could tie back to the central values of compassion and integrity. I maintained the shape of the circle to demonstrate that the there is no hierarchy to any value.
Values at The New School
Selected values: Earth, Body, Health, Respect, Vulnerability
I found an article from the Baltimore Sun expressing anguish over schools not taking action in creating an environmental science program that both teaches students the importance of caring for the Earth, but also establishes a strong Earth-science vocabulary. I think this can relate to Parsons in certain practices. One of the greatest strengths to Parsons is its alternative approach to education techniques. While this has shown incredible results in certain disciples, such as fashion design, product design, and other fine art fields, I think that sometimes more traditional industries are neglected. I say this because while a traditional education may not be the the best way for students to learn, there are some core themes and principles established that often go overlooked. I felt this in sustainable systems. While I had a teacher who stressed environmental literacy, many of my peers were doing art projects in their science course, and finished the semester with no knowledge of sustainability. What is missing from my analysis is the experience of taking an art workshop within a science class and seeing how these two concepts two do or do not connect.
Body – http://www.newschoolfreepress.com/2018/02/24/body-positivity-art-exhibit-promotes-self-appreciation/
I found this post on the New School Free Press website. It details an exhibition on body positivity. I always admire the freedom The New School gives students to express themselves and allowing space for all bodies to be activated, observed, and accepted. I am still learning about what body positivity means to me. It has become an adventure to find new things I like about myself and what I like in other people. I feel fortunate enough to go to a school that sees value in this concept, and that allows other students to come up with their own definitions. A blind spot is that body positivity was created for those who had traditionally unaccepted bodies, thicker bodies, bumpy bodies. I understand that I have never experienced life in a larger body. Perhaps I never will. This is my blind spot, is the challenge of being both sympathetic, supportive, and a good listener to those in my position existing in a different physical form.
I have a mixed response to how health is valued at The New School. Particularly hush-hush health. By this, I mean mental and sexual health. Health that not everyone finds acceptable to talk about. I do not think professors are aware of just how burdensome mental illness can be on students. I wish they would be more understanding of the “pressure” they make their students face, and truly consider that a majority of the student population is working full-time in addition to studying full-time. I get upset when teachers cannot keep up with the workload they assign, when they take two months out of the semester to grade a single assignment. In relation to sexual health, I do not blame professionals for wanting as much information in order to construct the best practice. I also cannot get too upset over natural human curiosity. However, when a 2 minute pee test turns into a forty minute discussion over my entire sexual history, describing what acts I did with which partner, at length, I cannot help but feel awfully open. My blind spot to both of these would be that I do not know what the professor or professional is thinking. Perhaps there is a method or reasoning behind the prying questions and the workload, but until then, I feel blind and subject to scrutiny.
I chose this TedTalk in its relationship to students and teachers and classroom respect. I do feel that, in a majority of classrooms, there is less of a hierarchy and more of a collective group mentality. For this reason, I am able to gain a lot more respect for my peers, whether it is through hearing them speak or watching them respond to others. And, I am able to observe my professor from a much more intimate distance. My bias towards this would be from my previous educational experience, in which the professor was viewed more as a deity. He or she was not to be questioned. Discussion was limited. Classroom interaction was sparse. I still have a traditional view as to what a professor should be, and my walls are gradually coming down with each lecture.
Vulnerability – Warning! This poem may be triggering.
Lamar Jordan’s Poem, Shooter, exposes the vulnerabilities of the American school system and political system at large. I understand that this is a unique choice. I understand that this is a provocative choice. But I also understand what it is like to be in a school with students tormented with grief and constantly looking over their shoulder wondering if they will be “next.” There were multiple school shooting and violent threats throughout my years in high school. I wish I could erase the memory of a 10 foot wide swastika bleached into the lawn coming up to the front of the hill. I wish I could erase the blue ink bloodying the bathroom walls with “I love Trump and I hate ****”. My eyes sting with the tears of students who did not show up to school after the election after they heard about what was happening to their friends in the hallway. Students painted the boulder outside of the school with words of love and hope, but that moment of hate lived long enough to make students feel unsafe in their community, and fear for their safety in their country. My blindspot towards vulnerability is that it is dependent on other people accepting the one who is putting himself out there. Not everyone is lucky enough to be saved.