Daily Archives: December 17, 2013

Reimagining the Urban: Ying-Fen Chen

A Vision of Site-Responsive Arts Collaborations in Communities

It had been a blue Monday for me before I arrived at the symposium, Reimagining the Urban: Bay Area Connections Across the Arts and Public Space, at noon. I had just finished a class in the morning and was still suffering from the flu. In the crowded auditorium, there weren’t many seats left, but I found one next to a stranger. After brief introductions, I lapsed into silence and wished the symposium end soon that I could go home to recover from my virus. Ten minutes later, in the third section of the day, I not only knew the name of the stranger near me, but had enjoyed a stimulating conversation with her about her vision—site-responsive community-led arts collaborations—against the gentrification phenomenon in Bay Area.

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Reimagining the Urban: Kuan Hwa

When Linda Rugg spoke of how “we” define ourselves in relation to the bay, who are the “we” to whom she refers? When Brad McCrea said that the bay is different for “us” as it was then compared to now, are these generations of people in the past and in the present even the same entity? What if some family, previously included in the “we” during the 1970′s, moved away from the bay area in the 2000′s?; would the “we” be substantively changed or does the “we” persist to inscribe those who no longer belong to an area but identify themselves as having once come from it? What would justify an invocation of the “we” to transcend a specific temporal collectivity and ideology? I just moved to the bay area. What justifies me to take claim over the bay as my home, and my inclusion in the “we” of the bay area?

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Reimagining the Urban: Kate Mattingly

Before the symposium began, a cluster of people on the waitlist stood next to the balcony. Their view of the floor below looked something like this. Threads held tiny pieces that resembled straws or mini-bones and were constantly waving, but at first glance, the mobile appeared motionless. It took a moment to notice these pieces were in motion, and even closer inspection showed that tiny weights (visible in the picture below) ascended and descended just below the ceiling, mapping the mini-bones’ movement in vertical axes.

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Reimagining the Urban: Alec Stewart

Kicking off the Reimagining the Urban symposium, Margaret Crawford spoke of a real estate development boom in San Francisco that has contributed to an exodus of roughly 10,000 artists from the city. This familiar narrative is one of rising real estate prices forcing the working classes out of neighborhoods such as the Mission while yupsters move in, bringing with them expensive restaurants, high-priced boutiques, and exclusive national chains. A similar process is occurring on a larger scale in the Mid-Market area, where over40 active real estate projects will bring several million square feet of new office, residential and retail space—not to mention new entertainment and dining options—into a previously “seedy” neighborhood.

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