New York City circa 2014 saw a lot gentrification, where silent big money is pushing out New York natives that have been living in the city for as long as they can remember. Toward the end of the year, the gentrification had a big target on apartment buildings, forcing out tenants under low-income housing or rent-stabilized apartments to build luxury buildings for obvious reasons. The pinnacle of all the gentrification that has been going on is probably what happened to 5Pointz in Queens, New York. A mecca for graffiti and street art history in New York has officially been scheduled for demolition to put up new luxury condo’s for the wealthy.
In the midst of this, good friend and artist, Ann Lewis, had taken matters into her own hands by creating an artistic expression about gentrification. New York City-based artist, Hanksy, curated and hosted an interactive art initiative called “Surplus Candy” the same year. Selected artists were given rooms of a dilapidated apartment building in Alphabet City of Manhattan to create meaningful art and murals throughout the building. Ann was a selected artist and had chosen a kitchen for her installation because of what a kitchen represents in a home – a room where families gather to nourish their bodies and souls.
Ann’s installation was also part performance art and I wanted to create a short film to capture this element of the experience. Symbolizing “progress” through a tool of a sledgehammer, she releases her frustrations around the subject of gentrification through an act of destruction, representing a message of how gentrification affects everyday people. What’s left of the aftermath was the actual installation itself, where viewers were able to walk through the room and experience the results of how gentrification can affect families and individuals.
Performing Artist: Ann Lewis
Music Credit: “Hate or Glory” by Gesaffelstein
Directors: Joe Cavallini & AK