Friday, March 16, 2012

Direct Action Flâneurs (in New York)

Calling all
Direct Action Flâneurs
‘Sense Collection with a Typewriter’
in re-connection & re-flection alongside the re-occupation of Liberty Plaza

Saturday, March 17 - Join us anytime from 1 pm till dusk
Liberty Plaza aka Zuccotti Park (corner Liberty & Trinity)

Which type are you?

Join with fellow Direct Action Flâneurs engaged in “Sense Collection with a Typewriter” to create lists cataloguing our sensations—everything we see, feel, hear, and experience at the 6-month anniversary of the OWS encampment. Take the inventory, make the index, document the event. We’ll provide the typewriters. Come witness, stroll in the park, sit down, and type.

What’s the action score?
Direct Action Flâneurs
stroll around with their “type” of typewriter, find a place to sit, and generate lists with the typewriter. The lists will be gathered through on-the–spot observation (sensing) of movements, objects, colors, sounds, etc. in Liberty Plaza, akin to an ethnographer performing a field study or a choreographer interpreting and describing human movement. A list of what people hold in their hands, a list of human proportions, a list of what is written on banners, a list of bits of overheard conversation, a list of the names of policemen, a list of the colors of peoples’ pants. While typing, you can at any time interrupt yourself with a personal list (like a to-do list, a biographical list, appointment list) and/or your own collected thoughts. We will give you a list of lists--possibilities for observation--but you can create your own. Through typing you will generate as well a copy of your written list which will go into an outbox where passersby can read it in the moment. You can type for as long as you want, and you can change to another “type of typewriter” if you want.

Why collect lists?
The lists have the potential to highlight patterns and find meaning in the OWS anniversary. The collected lists will also serve for future Direct Action Flâneurs projects.

Why use a typewriter instead of a laptop or pen and paper?
We enjoy the sound of the keys typing. We enjoy the physical engagement. We enjoy that each typewriter has its own typeface and its own feel. We enjoy that they make you slow down. We enjoy that we don’t need electricity to make them work. We enjoy the simplicity. Take a step back. Allow history into the present and future.

Direct Action Flâneurs

Monday, March 05, 2012

victims of an event they don't want

In Brazil, 170,000 people may face eviction ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. The New York Times reports on the land fights that are currently raging around the country.
In Rio, evictions are taking place in slums across the city, including the Metrô favela near the Maracanã stadium, where residents who refused to move live amid the rubble of bulldozed homes. The evictions are stirring ghosts in a city with a long history of razing entire favelas, as in the 1960s and 1970s during Brazil’s military dictatorship. Thousands of families were moved from favelas in upscale seaside areas to the distant Cidade de Deus, the favela portrayed in the 2002 film “City of God.”
The article points out the para-military approach the government is taking, invading communities and engaging in hand to hand combat with residents. And it highlights how the authorities denigrate communities to make it appear as if their eviction is for their own good. Take Vila Autódromo, a Rio favela slated for destruction to make way for the Olympic Park. Here's Rio's housing czar, Jorge Bittar, on the state of the community: “Vila Autódromo has absolutely no infrastructure. The roads are made of dirt. The sewage network goes straight into the lagoon; it’s an absolutely precarious area.” But, as the Times reports, Vila Autódromo actually has spacious houses that the residents built themselves, with guava trees providing shade in their yards. And, though the roads may be dirt, people own cars, which the Times notes is a sign of making it into Brazil’s expanding lower middle class. "We’re victims of an event we don’t want," Inalva Mendes Brito, a schoolteacher in Vila Autódromo, told the paper. "But maybe if Brazil learns to respect our choice to stay in our homes, the Olympics will be something to celebrate in the end."

Sunday, March 04, 2012

the shame of the city

In the past year and a half, squatters in Metro Manila have experienced 50 demolition drives affecting more than 16,000 families, community groups have argued in court. They are pressing for an injunction that would ban  demolitions and evictions in the city. The Journal has details.

Friday, March 02, 2012

the destruction of Istanbul

"If you leave a city at the mercy of speculators, it will die."

Those are the chilling words of a Turkish activist talking with The Guardian about the future of Istanbul, where 50 neighborhoods have been earmarked for redevelopment and 7.5 billion Turkish liras ($4.2 billion) has been set aside for real estate projects in 2012. Much of the history in those neighborhoods is in danger of being erased. In Tarlabaşı--an immigrant neighborhood, first Greek, then Kurdish, and now North African--up to 278 buildings may be demolished.

It's a classic case of people vs. profits. The Turkish Contractor's Association estimates that the construction work set for Istanbul will produce $87 billion in profit -- but the cost in people's lives and the rending of the historic fabric of the city of the Sultans far outweighs that.