Opening: 19-07-2016 20:00
Date: July 19, 2016
The Red Line Archive : a mobile public art project
Presentation by Walis Johnson
Curated by the Milena principle - "Made of Walking"
The Red Line Archive is a mobile public art project designed to engage Brooklyn residents in a conversation about the history of the Red Line map and its impact on our lives today.
Redlining refers to discriminatory lending practices that prevented African- Americans and other people of color from attaining home mortgages and business loans in New York City and urban communities nationwide. Even as loans to black people were discouraged, real estate brokers actively used racial and economic fear mongering that encouraged white homeowners to sell their properties at reduced prices and move en masse to new suburbs created for them. This was known as white flight.
Neighborhoods of historic and cultural importance in Black Brooklyn such as Bedford-Stuyvesant, Fort Greene, and Crown Heights – areas now on the frontline of gentrification – went from racially diverse to black “ghettos” almost overnight. These neighborhoods physically declined as city services and economic development were withheld.
Redlining was not solely confined to African-American neighborhoods; areas like Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and Dumbo, among others, were redlined, too.
The Archive is constructed of lightweight plywood and wheels that is moved from location to location along the city streets.
It contains personal items from the artist’s family, primary documents such as maps and letters, and ephemera collected during four artist walks in and along the periphery of redlined neighborhoods.
Other elements include audio clips of interviews recorded in fall 2015, a video excerpt about redlining from the PBS series Race the Power of an Illusion: The House that Race Built, and a printed catalogue.
Walis Johnson (New York), grew up in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill. She is an experimental filmmaker, educator and researcher whose work documents experiences of the urban landscape through oral history, film essay, sound, performance (walking practices) and short narrative. Walis is particularly interested in the intersection of documentary and performance. She teaches at Parsons - New School and is currently developing a walking project in Brooklyn to reveal the historical roots of gentrification in the neighborhood--she is an avid walker and member of the Walk Exchange in New York.