Visual Activism: Erin McElroy

Visual Activism: Erin McElroy

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Which occupies, the unseated, territory, of the duwamish. Tsuquamish. And coast, salish peoples, and to pay, respectful, tribute to this land as their ancestral, home. Thank you to lauren pearson, lindsey paner and lori mcphee, for all the technical support with this event, and also to the berkeley center for new media, which is co-sponsoring. Today's, talk. I also want to give a very special, shout out of thanks and gratitude, to my students, who are in my visual activism, class and to my gsi, angela, pastorelli, sosa, it has been so sustaining, to be in conversation, with you this fall, um and i really appreciate, your brilliance, and your insights. So thank you for joining. I also want to mention a few upcoming events that the arts research center is hosting, uh so our next event is um a curator's, talk with myself, um olivia, ardui. Of the museum of art of sao paulo and the moma curator thomas lacks, it's about a show it's about the exhibition release. The x the catalog, for an exhibition, that was actually sadly. Drastically, reduced, was supposed to open in sao paulo, in this last june, so that will be tuesday. November 12th, at 4 p.m pst, i hope you can join us for that, and i also want to say that our applications, are now open for, our initiative, poetry innocences. That is a horizontal, collaboration. Between, undergraduates. Graduate students berkeley faculty, and also bay area poets. You can go to our website, which is. And those i believe are due. In a couple of weeks those applications, it's not a very onerous application. And you get to occupy. Um, a space of shared critique, uh feedback, and also there's public. Publishing opportunities, etc so it's a really amazing, and exciting. Initiative. So the last thing i want to say is that today is election day um and it's not too late to vote the polls are open in california. Until 8 pm, um and of course our democracy, really hangs in the balance. This year. And i just want to urge everyone, who has not already done so, to please go and exercise, your rights, to vote. So now without further ado let me introduce, today's speaker, erin, mcelroy. Who is a postdoctoral. Researcher, at new york university's, ai, now institute. Researching, the digital platforms, and technologies. Used by landlords, in order to surveil. Track and racialize, tenants. They're also the co-founder, of the anti-eviction. Mapping project, a counter-mapping. And digital storytelling. Collective, that documents, dispossession. And resistance. Um, upon gentrifying, landscapes. Focusing, upon the san francisco, bay area los angeles, and new york city. And i've taught the anti-fiction, mapping project's. Creations, in several of my classes. I find them to be some of the most powerful. And informative. Digital tools. That have been produced in the last decade. They earned their doctoral, degree in feminist studies from uc santa cruz and they co-founded, the radical housing journal, a peer-reviewed, publication.

That Brings together scholar activist, housing justice work transnationally. So i can't think of a better way to spend, an hour together, than to hear, from, erin mcelroy, so erin let me turn it over to. You. Thank you so much for having me um, it's an honor to be here today and i know it's a really, tense day for a lot of people um. Myself. Included, um so i'm, just grateful to be able to share the space and, um, share more of the anti-fiction, mapping projects work. Um and hopefully think some of it in. Relationship, to what's what's going on politically, right now in the world so. So thank you so much, um. I am going to, um, just share my screen right now. Let's see. There we go. Okay. Um. Yeah so again my name is erin, um i, am a, co-founder, of, the anti-fiction, mapping project, um. Which is a collective. Um. With many many people that are part of it who have been dedicating. Um. A lot of love and labor, uh since. 2013, when we when we were founded in the san francisco, bay area um to the project so, i just want to say off the bat that i'm going to be um sharing, work, and, thoughts, and analytics, um that have been produced collaboratively. So. I don't want to, give the illusion that what i'm sharing is is just mine alone, but it's really. The work of the mapping project and. Many many. Community partners with whom we, work and have been working. Since. 2013.. And as was said. We. Also have chapters right now in new york city and in los angeles, and. Partners. In in all three cities in all three locations. Um. And also, also globally, now. So. On that note i wanted to um. Begin the presentation, today, though, um. By, reflecting, on. Um. Some, some thinking and some mapping, um that i was involved. With um. I guess in 2016, and 2017. Um. When. Trump was running for presidency. And um. And when he won, and, uh esteemed office. Um and my colleague and dear friend minister, maharawal. And i wrote this piece uh just kind of reflecting, on. What it means, that um. Somebody who has amassed power, and wealth. Through, real estate and through speculation, became. Became president and we began this this article in the abolition, journal. Um by. By, thinking through this. Other artist, uh, he was no longer with us woody guthrie. Who wrote a song in 1954. Um, about. Trump uh and uh. Well. About fred trump, uh, donald trump's father landlord father. And the son is basically calling out fred trump for his uh racist. Housing policies, in brooklyn. And for those who don't know, fred trump who established. Million-dollar, tax shelter trust for each of his children, and grandchildren. And who fed donald, hundreds of thousands of dollars a year also left our. Current president. 40 million dollars of his 250, million real estate venture upon his death, a literal, passing down of white inheritance, through private. Property. Um, so not only has this inheritance, fueled donald's own real estate industry. But, it has financed, a campaign that capitalizes. Upon historic, racism. While speculating, upon racist, futures. And so to put it simply. Our current president, known for his luxury developments.

Golf Courses, and exploitative, housing policies. Has made, and inherited the capital that financed, his campaign and is now financing, his campaign. Again um through systems that privilege private property, and with it whiteness. So. Um today, you know trump. As. Presidents of the past two had sit in a white house. Um. Built, by, slaves, on stolen indigenous, land. And as a master, army around him, determined, to maintain the whiteness of private property. Um, soon after taking power, four years ago. Trump appointed a chief strategist, who wished that only, property owners could vote, a department of housing and urban development, secretary. Who overtly, opposes fair housing, law. And fines public housing a failed socialist, experiment. A secretary. Of treasury. Popularly, known as the foreclosure, king. An official, senior advisor, known for the eviction and harassment, of new york city tenants. And the list goes on. And maps and data, um, interestingly. Have been used to further these white supremacist. Visions. From gerrymandering. Voter districts, to maximize, white power. To relying, on algorithms. To undo, housing protections. And, abet discrimination. From racist deportations. And containment. To right now failures, of addressing, coped 19, and resulting, housing precarity. Um, but what we were thinking about in 2017. When we wrote this article, um was that. Um. The whiteness, of private property. Has been alive and well in the bay area, um, one of the bluest, regions. In the country. Um. For, for centuries. Um and so drawing upon anti-addiction, mapping project work um, we asked how and why um. We might we need, an abolitionist. Approach to private property. And to. Gentrification. And really thinking through the current moment, and in crafting, alternative, futures. Not reliant, upon, housing and racial injustice. And you can just see here in some of the maps that i'm going to get into, um, shortly, made by the anti-eviction, mapping project held. Prior to, trump taking office. Um. Racist, policies, in the realm of housing were alive and well. Um as disproportionately. Black and latinx. Tenants have been um. Being have been pushed out of the barrier. Um, at rapid rates. Uh for a lot over the last few decades, um, so i just want to keep this in mind as i go into our the presentation, today. Um, on the anti-addiction, mapping project. Particularly.

Um Because we began, as a project in 2013. Um. In the bay area which again. Is a very liberal area. Um but nevertheless, has been sheltering. Um. Uh racist, housing policies. Uh, since its, colonial, foundings. Um but this um, some of these images here, um. Kind of get at, the landscape. Of san francisco. And, oakland. Um when the mapping project emerged, um and actually san jose as well. But what we were seeing all around us when we began, um as housing, organizers, in the area. Was that. Land and housing were being. Speculated, upon. By landlords, and, the real estate industry. In order to capitalize, upon. Technocapitalist. Wealth. From silicon, valley and from startups. Um. We were seeing, you know the rise of what are now called the google, buses, and google bus stops, um, and just a lot of tech wealth. Moved to the bay area um. And. Real estate speculators. Such as, jennifer, rosedale. He made this map on the. Left right. Here, began rebranding certain neighborhoods such as the mission, which, is a historically. Latinx, working-class, neighborhood. She began rebranding. This area as the quad, um a place for, quadsters, to reside as she describes. Um, or basically those who want to work in silicon, valley but reverse commute. From this. Actually branded at this sort of cool hip neighborhood. Um, and so what we were seeing was that. Evictions, were piling up in these areas, that were being, speculated. Upon. By realtors. And by the tech, industry. Um. And meanwhile, disproportionately. Black and latinx. Uh, tenants were being evicted. Um as the area became whiter, and wealthier, and um. We, we knew that, addictions were happening because, our, friends, and, um, community members were facing them. Um. I myself. Can't even count how many people um. Were forced out of their homes during this, time time. And have continued, to be forced out since then. Um, but we didn't often know who the evictors, were, and so it really animated, the anti-fiction, mapping project, um. When we, when we first, began was. This idea that we could create a map that could better. Illustrate. Who, um. Landlords, were who were electing tenants, and, and you might think this is a really easy thing to figure out. But, um. Particularly. Since 2008. But even before then. Um. Property ownership, has has changed quite dramatically. Across the us globally for that matter um. And. What we saw in 2008. Was after the foreclosure, crisis. Um. Real estate speculators. Um. And also huge investment, companies, and real estate, investment, trusts buy-up homes that have been foreclosed, upon. Um. Through. An array of, shell companies. So you might have one, big investment, company, that could be based in new york. Um, or elsewhere. Buy a bunch of property through various shell, companies. Um often using. Um. Llc's, limited liability, company names. And lp's limited partnership, names. All, of which might be unique so for example there in 2013, there was this company called urban green investments. That started up buying property, through. Llc's. Name things like 55, dolores street llc, or 49 guerrero street llc. And then quickly evicting, tenants with this idea that they could have big tenants. And then. Flip the buildings and sell them as condos, um to people with more money. And so we wanted to do some research so we could figure out um. Who the owners, of, these llc's, were. In order to. Basically, embed, existing, on-the-ground, organizing. In um. Enacting, multi-building, campaigns. Against eviction. And for housing justice, and so this map on the left left is um the very first map that we made that shows. The accumulation. Of um, a particular, type of eviction. Over time. And, the live version of the map online. Exists so that if you hover. Your mouse over any of these um. These eviction dots you can you can find out the name of the landlord, if we were able to figure it out ourselves. Um. And then we created. These stencils.

Collaboratively. With some artists, and. People began. Marking. Properties, um. Where evictions, had taken place based on this map. And the idea was to make visible. This process, that realtors, had been hoping to to. Um. Keep relatively, invisible, namely like who evictors were and where they took place. Um. And so. We also began, um. Creating, these. Basic. The web pages. Uh profiling. Serial addictors, this is um. One serial evictor, in san francisco. Who as you can see uses, a number of. Llc's. Golden properties, llc's, in particular. Peninsula. Realty llc. To buy up properties, and every, tenants, and so we would create pages like this to. Highlight, how many evictions, particular, speculators, had enacted. Put out information about them and and hope that this could be used. Um. In direct action campaigns, and at the time i was part of another. Production group called eviction free san francisco, that. Um we worked with quite. Intimately, in order to, um. Figure out who was being. Predicted, by him and organize these campaigns. Um, and. Yeah. Many other housing groups have been using. This data as well and also, often conducting, this research themselves it's um, it's quite complex, to do though because you often have to merge together eviction, data. With parcel ownership data. With um corporate entity data so basically these three data sets um. That i'll get more into in a little bit, but this has been um an ongoing. Project for us since we began. Um and we're trying to get better and better at it um. As we progress, as a collective, to, in order to really. Fuel, existing. Uh movements. With with data so that they can fight addictions. Um. About a year into our. Um. Emergence, we. We realized that, while we were producing. Maps, and data, that could be, helpful for fighting addictions. We were also reducing, often, visually. Reducing. Very complex, life, stories and histories. Um. Of gentrification. And dispossession, to just simple dots on them up and so. In 2014. We began. Um. Conducting, oral histories. With different tenants that we knew who were facing addiction. Fighting addictions, um. Some of whom were successful. In, in staying, housed. Um despite. Uh threats from their landlords. And we did this because we wanted to. Detail complex, life histories. Neighborhood, stories. Um, how people. Theorized. Gentrification. Themselves, and how they were fighting back. Um and since. This first map that we made um. We've done, much more narrative mapping, um and i'm gonna get into that. Throughout this presentation. But this was our. Our first attempt, um. And we're continuing, to add to this map, to date. Um after, releasing that map we also, worked on. Our first mural ever, in, san francisco's, clarion alley which we produced with the clarion alley mural project. And. A number of muralists in the mission, to basically. Uh. Replicate, our oral history map. On, a wall. And we produce this. In order to, to better, get offline, we realized that we were producing a. Lot of online digital work but like those stencils, that i showed you earlier we really wanted to make sure that, the work we were producing, could live, in analog, spaces, as well and not be, um.

Restricted, To the internet. So we painted this mural. That has a call the wall, feature, so passersby. Can call a phone number and hear five minute clips from several of the oral histories that we. Um, created portraits, for as well, that you can see here. Um. We also created, a zine, called we are here which has transcriptions, from some of the. Oral histories, and also contributions. From other. Community partners who submitted, stories, and poems and photographs, and essays. To the mapping project, in order to produce this, this scene. Um. And. Yeah in the upper left-hand corner here you can see. Um. The parents of alex nieto, who also contributed, to this project. Um alex, was killed by the police, the san francisco, police in 2014. And, um. His death was was linked to, ongoing gentrification. A series of white newcomers. To. San francisco. Racially profiled, him and called the police who then. Murdered him and and the four police officers, who who did kill him. Um. Are employed, by the san francisco, police department's. Mission branch which is, directly across the street from this mural so. In including. Alex's, portrait. Um. And a story, narrated by his parents we really wanted to. Make connections, between. Racist. Police violence, and racial profiling. And gentrification. Which we've continued, to work on. As a project since then. So. A lot of the data that we were initially, able to, obtain. Around, around evictions, we were able to get from the san francisco, rent board. And eventually the oakland rent board. And for those who don't know. So different cities in san francisco. Have. Rent. Control, um, and just cause protections. And. In those cities often there there are rent boards and sometimes we're able to get eviction data from those rent boards. Most cities in california, do not have these um. Most cities, in the us don't have these. And there have been ongoing. Struggles. In order to obtain. Rent control and better renter protections. For decades and decades. Throughout california. And, throughout the u.s. San francisco, does have, rent control, um. As does oakland, as does berkeley. But that doesn't mean that it's good enough or strong enough and so their ongoing, efforts locally, but also. Statewide, to. Create better protections. Um.

The Lsf, that i mentioned earlier. Is a, law that that, came into being. In 1985. After different cities in california, obtained rent control. And the idea behind it was that it could it was a landlord. Led, bill intended to weaken rent control, and. Make it easier. For landlords, to, predict, tenants, um. In cities that had rent protections. Um. And then a decade later another la costa hawkins was written. Again intended to meet gun control and winter, venture protections, and so. Um. For many years there have been efforts statewide, in order to overturn, those two laws. Um. And also to create, stronger, protections, for. For attendance. Throughout the state. Um. One thing that we, we wanted to understand though when we began was where people are going to after. Being evicted, and so. This is a map we were able to work with. The eviction defense collaborative. Which is a um. An organization, that represents. Um. They say roughly about 90, of tenants whose court cases. Um. Whose eviction cases go to court in san francisco. Um so we were able to work with them to understand where people were going. Um after being evicted by. Um. Contacting. Clients of theirs years after being evicted. Uh we were also able to better understand the demography, of displacement. Um. Looking at their client intake forms and so this is a map where you can see, how so many people are being displaced, out of cities, um, with rent control and under protections. To other. Uh suburbs, and to cities. Throughout. The bay area and, there are different, zoom levels on this map so you can also see where people are going. When they leave the, the bay area, where they leave the state. And even the country. And and, many, people after being evicted also end up unhoused, and some people um. We found in in this this data set also um ended up passing away. As addictions can and often are um. Deadly. Um can be deadly so. We also with this data were able to determine, that um. Black tenants were over represented, by, 300, percent. Um, regarding. Addiction in san francisco, which is huge, and latinx, attendance two were.

Widely Overrepresented. Whereas white tenants were, under-represented. Which is, something that we. We knew, um. Roughly, through our organizing, work but um data like this really. Helps drive it home. Um. Yeah about a year into, our, a year after that after producing. That report, we began doing a lot more work in alameda, county. Uh focusing, on oakland, richmond. Sorry oakland, fremont, and the city of alameda. Um. With tenants together which is a statewide, um. Tenants. Organization. Um that we partner with quite frequently. So we work with them as well as a number of other community partners to better understand. Um. Evictions, in those three cities and throughout the county. Uh, we also. Began producing, video work as you can see here. And community power maps where we um. Where we worked with in this case the local art gallery the betty owner gallery in, oakland, in order to better, chart. And map um. Not only loss but also sites. Of power, um and we realized. In doing this we really wanted to intervene in our own practice, of often, portraying. Cities such as oakland, as. Um. Negative or pathologic, spaces, based on. The um, intensity, of evictions, and dispossession, but we also wanted to show what's still there and what people are fighting for. Um, and then sort of flip the narrative in that respect, so since then we produce. Other community power maps but this was our first. Intentional, one. Um, so in 2017. And 18 we launched chapters in new york and la. Um. And, in both of those places we worked, and still are working with different. Community partners as we do in the bay area. Um this is, um. A map we produced with the right to, council. Coalition. In, new york. And just fix which is another housing group in new york with whom we partner, in order to understand who the worst of victors, are in the city and hold a mock tribunal. Basically, um. Putting, surreal evictors, to, to, trial in a people's court. Um. In la we've produced. Maps of evictions. And also done a lot of narrative, and portrait work as you can see here. With groups such as the la attendance union. Um and then meanwhile in san francisco, our work has.

Has Progressed, and i think, really deepened in a lot of ways there's um. A project, that i myself haven't been a part of, but others in our collective have um called dislocation. Black exodus, which. Tells. The sort of history. Of um. Displacement. And resistance. Uh that black. San francisco. And, importantly, it really gets into, um. Stories of dispossession. That predate. The current tech moment and this for us was an important intervention, we realized that we were often. Prioritizing. Sort of the present. So much that we were forgetting about the past and, realized, that, we can't understand the present without the pest and so we were looking at histories, of. Of urban, renewal, and redevelopment. In the fillmore district in western edition. That led to a huge wave of black displacement. Decades ago at this point. Um and the ongoing, effects. Of that um regarding. Folks experiences. In, neighborhoods such as bayview hunters point which. Have been, subject to, environmental. Racism. For decades. Um. And we we produced, a number of. Um. Events. With different, community partners, in order to. Bring folks together who can, tell that story and also. Do political, education work on tenants rights and racial justice, and san francisco, histories. Um. That really. Has, has integrated, in an exciting way with another project that, we've been working on for years, um at this point, called counterpoints. Um it's an atlas project, uh that. We, decided to produce also to sort of trouble the. The focus, that's sort of present. Present test understanding, of gentrification. Um and racial dispossession. In the bay area and think more historically. Um we also wanted to produce, this outlet in order to think more regionally. And as best we. Could de-center. San francisco, and oakland from, um. Stories and narratives of regional dispossession. So this is an atlas, that will be coming out later, in december. Uh with pm press. Um, and you can just see, from. I'm going to just kind of go through the seven chapters with you, how we've been theorizing. Um. The historicity. And the the sort of, longer deray, of dispossession. And also resistance, in the bay area. So, um. We have a chapter on evictions, and root shock. Um we have i'm just these are just sample maps there are. Um hundreds, of maps and contributions. In this atlas. Many of them also. Um. Draw upon the work of community partners, and different, contributors, to the atlas not all of whom are part of the. Project. Um. So we have a chapter, on indigenous, geographies, of. Resistance. A chapter on health, and environmental. Racism. A chapter on gender vacation, and state violence. A chapter on transportation. Infrastructure, and economy. One on. Um. Well yeah you can see here migrations. And relocations. And then lastly one on speculation. And speculative. Features. Um. You know looking at both. Financial, speculation. But also. Other imaginaries. And, future projects. Um, dedicated, to housing and racial justice.

And This is the the cover, designed by isa nafo who's part of the mapping project who's been doing the layout for the whole book. So um. Yes, i really wanted to focus on those projects. In as much as they. They get at some of what i was. Talking about earlier. They need to really think. Through histories, of race property. Um. And, and displacement. Um. In the bay area. Um, historically. Um but that said we've also been wanting to. Focus on the present especially this year. Given how much kova 19, has. Dramatically. Shifted the housing landscape. Um, and so, since march. We've been hard at work on this map which you can find all of the everything i'm showing you by the way is on our website, so people can explore these. Um later. At length. Um, but this is a map where we decided, to start tracking. Um. Different eviction moratoriums. And housing protections. That. Cities, counties, states, and. Nations. Um. Have enacted. Uh. To respond, to how much cop19, has impacted. Housing. And and displacement. Uh we also are crowdsourcing. Information, on rent strikes, and different campaigns, and housing justice, actions. Um. And this is also our first map, we've, never met globally, before. And we've been very intentional, in all of our work to really, produce work from the ground up with community partners, and so we were pretty hesitant, in. Doing something global knowing that we. While we do have community partners in some countries. That's you know we don't have them in every country and that, this map could be. Quite uneven because of that and so a lot of work went into. Language, justice and making this map you're seeing it in english now but um, we built in. Internationalization. Features, and functions, so that, the map is legible in different languages, depending, on where one searches. And we've developed, relationships, with groups in brazil, throughout europe. Um. And and other, countries. And. Continents, as well, as we've been trying to um. Make this a tool that can, can be useful, um, beyond the geographies, where we're situated.

Uh Which is easier said than done we're still doing a lot of learning. Um. We've also been collecting, narratives. With tenants together, and and other groups in order to. Um. Support campaign work, uh for stronger protections. Um, and this is, just an example we've, built this with different community partners. In brazil, and sao paulo in particular. In order to. Produce, information, and crowdsource. Uh, data related to. Housing. Protections. And also. Addictions. In brazil. Um. Yeah, and so. Probably folks know about the amounts for housing campaign which is not, i don't want to give the illusion that this is something that, is a mapping project thing at all but rather, um, they've been a source of inspiration, for us. Um since last year pre-covered. Um. For. Formerly, unhoused. Mothers, uh black mothers in oakland, reclaimed, property that had been foreclosed, upon. In the past owned by this. Serial. Evictor, and, large investment company. Called wedgewood. And, the moms have really inspired a wider movement beyond. The home that they reclaimed, on magnolia, street but across. The bay area and. Across the state and even. Beyond the state of california. They've really, inspired, people to, enact, multi-building, campaigns, and conduct, research. Um so that. Housing. Groups and housing justice. Organizers. And, tenants, and house folks. Can, secure housing, um. Kind of beyond the purview, of. Um. Policy. So. Um, with that in mind. Uh we. Have, been inspired, to create this look-up tool which we began working on. Um. Really, years ago to some extent that we've really spent our production, up a bit. In the wake of covid. Knowing that so many people were going on rent strike or just couldn't pay rent. Um and wanted to figure out again who their. Armored, was and the other buildings, that their landlord, owns, so that they can organize, collectively. Um. And also just figure out. Where our houses that could they could reclaim, um warehouses. And, buildings, and apartments, that. Um. They can, organize, with and you know fight. This possession. Um. Around together, and so. This is the tool that's not currently, public yet but will be soon. Called a victor book, which is a it's a look up tool, so tenants can look up. Addresses, landlords and neighborhoods. And again find. Eviction, information, and also. Um. Learn about the ownership, network. That. Their victor, or their landlord is a part of so. They can find all of the other properties. Um. Owned by their landlord. And. Determine. Whether or not evictions have taken place in any of them, in the past. So. Look, out for this soon, um it's going to be live for san francisco, first and. And we're in the middle of developing. Um an oakland version. And an la version as well. We have also been noticing, in the wake of coded, that. There have been um. A growing number, of, surveillance, mechanisms. And and, eviction, technologies, that landlords, and property and energy, managers, are using to. Profile, tenants, collect information, about them. And. The idea is used to either evict them or deny them housing. In the future, so um. This gets ninja practices, like tenant screening, but also. Uh facial recognition. Entry. Systems. Which. Are scary but real. Um and so. We've been doing a lot of research, and trying to understand. This phenomenon, how it's changing in the wake of coveted. Um often, being, justified. Um. Under the purview of contact tracing. So the idea is again landlords, can figure out, if tenants in their buildings. Might have covet or something like that but really, um they're gathering all sorts of other data that they can use to. Um. Evict, them with or. Um. Blacklist, them. From housing. Because of in the future. Um so. Yeah, there have also been a lot of tenants organizing, against. These sorts of technologies. And have. Tenants such as um chennai. You can see on the right here um, his attendant, at atlanta plaza towers and brooklyn. Has been organizing, against this for some time and so we've been learning from tenants who have been fighting back and trying to create. Tools and technologies. That can be used um to fight. These landlord technologies. So sort of flipping. The gaze back on landlords, and speculators, and then their technologies.

Um. So i'm just kind of going through a lot right now because i want to, make sure we have some time to speak as well together, but, um. This is a film project that came out this year that um. Area. Appel from the mapping project really led. With, alexander, lucy and some others, but. It's a 30-minute, film project called tenants rise up that um. Brings together and sort of weaves together housing justice narratives. In, san jose santa rosa and oakland. And it's it's really an homage, to tenant organizing. And it's all based on organizing, that took place. Pre-coded, but. There was a really beautiful. Film lunch. Um. On october 18th just, recently. Where, um. People involved in the project, and the organizers. Featured, in the film were really kind of reflecting, on how. Organizing. That's been going on, um, in their cities for, years and years has. Created the stronger base in order to advocate, for. Protections. And rights and. And also, to. Organize against landlords and speculators, with, um in in the present moment, um. So i wanted to sort of, think through that here again it's i've been showing you a lot of. Maps and images, and narratives, that were. You know created. In 2013. 1415. Some of which. Um. Also. Encompassed, tenant organizing, struggles, that took place decades, ago or even hundreds of years ago. And how really, um. We are in this unprecedented. Time where. Tenant organizing, and. The movement for housing justice has grown stronger and stronger because, of, ongoing, work. Of folks on the ground who have been. Calling for. An abolition, of private property, who have been calling for. Cancellation, of rent, who've been calling for racial justice. Um and it's really you know upon their shoulders, that. Organizing, today sits, um. And so i think, yeah part of what we've been trying to do in the mapping project is really learn from these histories, and past, um. And use them as we envision, and speculate, upon. Futures, antithetical. To, real estate speculation. And. Technocapitalism. And. Housing and justice. More broadly. Um. So. With that i want to um, sort of end by just sharing our website. It's, at, Um. And. Everything i've showed you except for the victor book. Project is on here so you're welcome to, to check all of it out and. Um. We are a volunteer based collective, so if anybody's, inspired, to. Um. Get involved, we're always open to welcoming, people into the project.

It's Really a project that relies, upon. Um, the creativity. And the, labor, and. The analytics, and the experiences, of its, of its members, um. So. Yeah, you're welcome to join us as we produce, more and more work and maps and stories, um, for housing. So thank you. Thank you so, much erin that was really an inspiration, and just the kind of thing i needed to hear, about today, on election day, thank you so much also for your um, a little bit of history, preamble, at the beginning about. Um, trump and his real estate, kind of legacy, so i have some questions, and then i know that there might be some questions from the audience. But i want to ask you about the idea, of, counter mapping. And how, mapping. You know, one-eyed. Understanding of mapping of course is that it's been a kind of hegemonic, tool of domination. But how do you understand, it as. A kind of tool, of. Imagination. As a graphic tool, as a tool that also you know is not just about a kind of, aggregating, data but also as like, as art you know i mean you are a collective that has a lot to do with, creativity. And imagination. And, using visualization. In a in a powerful, and you know sometimes seductively, beautiful way so i'd just love to hear you say more about that. Thank you yeah um. So. For for a very long time. Maps have been used as technologies. Um. That have embedded processes. Of, um. Colonialism. Imperialism. Private property, etc. Um, and a lot of the tools and technologies, from the gps. To, um. To gis, to parcel mapping. Yeah have been. Part of, very violent histories, of land ownership, and division. And and, also silicon valley infrastructure. Particularly. If you think about, the cold war. Um, and then the sort of dot com boom and tech boom 2.0. Aftermaths. So. Um. It's been really. Interesting, and important to sort of think through those histories alongside, those that counter mapping which is. A practice, that um. You know different groups of people have been also using for centuries to fight back. Um, you know indigenous, communities, have. Mapped for instance. Um, territory, that. Defies, the way that, colonists. Have subdivided, it and named it in order to, to. Map out their their own lands and futures. Um. And, even more recently, you know there are so many different. Groups that have been. Um. You know mapping. Uh areas. That. Actually so for instance in. The atlas the very last map we have in the atlas is a map made by um. Elementary, schools from. Guadalupe, elementary, school in san francisco. Who have decided to, they decided to make a map of san francisco, as they want it to be rather than as it is and. Places where they feel safe and where they feel supported, and where they feel um, at home, which is a map that wouldn't look like um, you know amount you would. You would get from. An official. City, governing body, or, company, or something like this so. I think there there are so many different ways to think about. Counter mapping, um. We as a project didn't form initially with this idea of like oh we're going to make counter maps i don't think many of us. At that point maybe even. Knew that history, we've learned it since then i've been really inspired by it but we really started just with this idea like. Okay, the city is being remapped by real estate speculators, and we want to map back and then we realize that that, practice, fell within the tradition of counter mapping. Um. And it's an exciting moment there are many different, housing. Justice. Encounter mapping projects going on. Across the us. Globally right now. That are really trying to uncover, ownership networks, and also. Tell the story of. Land and space from tenant perspectives, rather than from. Realtors. Perspectives. Um, and who are using even geospatial, tools and technology, sometimes, in order to tell other. Other histories, and to kind of, pave other futures, so. Yeah that, really brings me to my next question or maybe it's two questions, that they're in my mind they're linked but maybe, you might want to de-link them um one of which has to do with um.

Like Feminist, data or you know you have a phd in feminist studies. Um, you talked about, you know unhoused, moms, and the power of that collective organizing. Organizing, as moms, you know like, uh having that identity, so i would just love to hear you say more about counter mapping actually as a feminist practice or how gender plays a role. In your in the projects that you work on. Um and then i also would love to hear more too about the kind of power and impact, of, individual, stories, and narratives, and how for example your, mural you're focusing on faces, and then you can read more about these narratives you know how, it seems like there's, a really interesting relay. Um between kind of aggregated, data and also, you know, amplifying, individuals. Right. Certainly, um. Yeah so there's there's a wonderful, book that came out um. This year by. Catherine's, ignacio, and lauren klein, called data feminism. That i think. Does a really good job of. Thinking through. Data practices. From a feminist. But also an diary system d colonial, perspective. Um. And. Yeah i mean there's a lot to learn from feminist, studies. Particularly. Around ideas of relationality. Um. Defying. What um, donna haraway calls this sort of god's eye, view of objectivity, so this idea that you can. Um. You know understand, a place from. Flying above it without really having any relationality. Um, or grounded. Analysis, or practice. And, so yeah i think as you said um, the oral history project and the narrative work that we do really. Intervenes, in that we i think we realized we ourselves, um, inadvertently, had begun to create these these sort of, god's iv, maps of addictions, and we we didn't feel comfortable, with that so that's why and, when we began doing, doing the narrative. Work that we're still doing, um, and really we're just trying to intervene, we're, i think as a collective, you can see over time we're, constantly, learning from. Mistakes. Or, that we made or things that maybe we didn't see. Um and and we're trying to get better at and better and complexify, our own practices. And you know as you can see bring in, more history, bring in more of a regional analysis. Um. And bring in, more narrative work um, so yeah. Great thanks. I have a question from lindsay panner who wants to know what inspired, you to do this kind of work surrounding. Eviction, and housing justice. Sure it's um. It's a long story but the short version is um. I was doing housing organizing. Already. In san francisco. Um. Right when the anti-addiction, mapping project began, um. A handful of organizers, myself included, also. Launched this collective called addiction free san francisco. Which had, um open meetings every two weeks that anybody could go to um he was facing eviction, or harassment, from their landlord, and. We had um we operated. Under a mutual aid model. Of um organizing, with tenants. To help keep them housed and really, we began to notice in this organizing. Um. That. It was hard to. Launch successful, campaigns, um. And. Direct actions without having a good understanding. Around who um, landlords, and speculators, were so, there was a real sort of um. Symbiotic, relationship, between the mapping project, and eviction free san francisco. In those early years, um. So that would that's the, short version. How i mean i'd love to hear more about your research. Like um. Obstacles, but also successes, i mean how hard is it to find this information. You know how how veiled, it seems like, you know. I probably, i'm, imagining, that many people don't want if they're really horrible, evictors, they don't want that information to circulate, so how much, digging do you have to do, how much kind of you know access to public files. Is there, are there, legal barriers, to getting that information. Yeah it's quite. Difficult, um. And. Again, that said that, people are doing this and you know. Tenants become researchers, in doing this um whether. They wanted to be researchers, or not, so um. Yeah but, the difficulty, often is um. That for us to understand. Complete ownership networks, we need to be able to bring together. At least three different data sets. Um. So there is eviction data which is very hard to get and, we, some cities make it easier, um. So, santa monica, for instance. Has been really forthcoming, with their eviction data but cities such as oakland make it really really difficult even though they have a rent board um, we've done so many record requests in order to get addiction data from oakland, and um. Sometimes. We won't even get a response back for a year or two you know so.

That's One of the hard. Parts, um. It's also extremely hard to get eviction data from county courts in california. Due to masking laws that are in place. Um, and the masking laws, basically, are intended to keep tenants, um, data from being used by tenant screening companies, so. That's actually really good but then it makes it harder for us to to get the data too, um even though we don't want any data about particular, tenants but it's just nevertheless, really hard to get the action data, but anyway long term then we have to basically merge that data with. Personal ownership, data which we can get from. Assessors, offices, but it's often. Um. Yeah it can be hard to, interpret, um and parse. Uh but then that kind of most complex data set is, um. Corporate ownership, data which, right now we get from the secretary, of state, through records requests, but um. We're in this weird moment, in which you can have an investment company that owns an llc. That llc might own another llc, and that one might own another, you know so it can become. Quite a chase. Data wise in order to determine. Who the. Actual owner. Is um. So what we will do is merge these three data sets together but, that's um, easier said than done. Right. I have another question from the audience, um, someone wants to know how you see this, project living on beyond our lifetimes, how do you work with community, to entrust this work will be furthered, and cared. For. That's a great question, um. So yeah, we're in the middle of actually thinking, through that quite, a bit in terms of our own archival, practices. Um. And, and just our project infrastructure. More, broadly. Um. So we began. Really thinking we were just going to make one or two maps, and, the projects just grown really organically, but we didn't begin the project, with this robust, infrastructure, in place, um. We're, primarily, unfunded. Collective. And you know so we don't have. Um, staff, we don't, have. We do break ground sometimes, and sometimes, we're able to get funding but it's. You know it it's not this. Robust, institution, or anything like that so we're. Also, um. People come to the project with all sorts of different tools and skill sets. Um and come to it wanting to learn others but. We're not very uniform, if you look at our maps in terms of just using one. Um, you know mapping software. You know so we'll have maps and data. All over the place. Um we've been. Realizing, that um. We want to be a lot more intentional, in the infrastructure, and the platforms, we're using. Uh particularly. What we want to get off all the corporate platforms, that we can. Um which is also a lot easier said than done so we have um. An infrastructure, working group right now really dedicated, to thinking about building. Um, free and open, source, alternatives. To some of the um. The technology, we're using and also. Um, independent. Servers, and different, different. Data hosting. Places that can protect data. Can make sure it doesn't get. Used um. In ways that we we wouldn't want and that that can be long living and. But, that's really difficult, so um. It's really it it is a beautiful moment right now though that we have so many people in the collective really dedicated, to thinking through this and we're still learning. So. How many people are in the collective right now actively. That's, always, changing. Um. I would say that we have probably, about like. 15 or so active members in each chapter, um. So yeah so maybe, 45, or so people but, you know, people. Um. A lot of new people have joined in the wake of covet and we are. Also. Fortunate right now to have folks volunteering, from other. Countries, and parts of the world as well since everything is being organized. Online, so it's um it's an interesting moment, of. Growth. And we're just trying to, do the best we can to kind of. Hold everything, together since things have gotten more geographically. Just. Sure, right. Yeah i guess i i did want to ask a little bit about how you understand, your work also. Maybe toggling between, or, working. Symbiotically. Between the analog, and the digital space so for example, as you were mentioning the creation of zines, and stencils, and murals, and how those are in some ways dependent, upon a kind of local, on the ground. Task force or crew. Versus the you know the digital space which can be more easily accessed, from um disparate, places. So um are all of your, you know all of your. Local. Teams, also working in kind of analog, methods. Yeah yeah so it's been really um. I think. It just has happened naturally like this but a lot of people in our collectives in those three chapters, are also part of. Tenants unions, or other sort of housing.

Justice, Organizing, collectives. In those different. Regions so we'll do a lot of, for instance in new york there have been a lot of skill shares between, folks from the mapping project and other. Housing groups. And some of that's happened in l.a too, um. And, you know they. Yeah there's been a lot of work and collaboration, with folks resisting. Um. What they're calling art driven, um. Gentrification. In oil heights, um, also, there's been a lot of collaboration with the ali attendance union another group so i think. Yeah having. Those other connections. Helps ensure that, we're. Well for one relevant to what's going on in the ground and to, that we're um, we're not just producing, this sort of information, in a digital bubble. So that's been really, important, yeah. Well i think that. Um unless, you have anything else you'd like to say i think we're um out of time, and i do want to just encourage people to vote. This is a really important day of course for all of us but it was one.

2020-11-07 08:40

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