Gentrification: Artist’s Impact
My original intention with this work was to consider the artist as an agent of gentrification. I used and cultivated my own bacteria and applied it to maps of Brick Lane in London and Porto Alegre in Brazil in an effort to represent the impact I have as an artist on a specific area.
The influence of an artist working in an economically run down location results in making the space culturally and commercially appealing, leaving room for a more homogenising and affluent middle class to come in to usurp and repopulate the area. This led me to regard artist influence and impact on a geographical area as akin to bacteria multiplying and homogenising a specific resource.
In Brick Lane and Porto Alegre I was considering the socio-economic impact artists have on locations. For What’s Your Location? in Kuwait, socio-economic gentrification caused by artists is far less of an issue than in London or Porto Alegre. Instead, I was forced to consider my impact to be one of cultural homogenisation.
Coming from and working within a European/Western cultural art heritage has implications when exhibiting internationally. The tendency of the Western world to consider and recognise art only as art if it conforms to the characteristics we value and determine, has led to a homogeneous globalisation of western art values.
The questions that have consumed me the most in the development of this work and in what I have presented for this exhibition are: what are the implications of cultural gentrification carried out by internationally exhibiting artists and can the positive values an artwork represents outweigh the negative consequences that come with globalisation?