My most current work is a response to a combination of both the omnipresent prevalence of construction within the city and a recent lecture Saskia Sassan gave at the Living Cities Forum (26/7/18) at Deakin Edge, Federation Square in Melbourne. Saskia Sassan is a Dutch born American sociologist who coined the term Global City. At this forum She asked the question 'who owns the city' and spoke of how cities have a visible and invisible side. The invisible side she was referring to was the buying up of properties in cities by global firms.
Since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 there has been a Surge in large scale corporate redevelopment of cities. She outlined the impacts of this on a city as:
A.foreign corporate buying of properties.
B. buying of buildings to replace them therefore increase in the extent of construction.
c.the spread of mega projects where vast footprints “kill much of the urban tissue”… little streets squares the spaces in between.
d. what was once small and or public is becoming large and private.
For video below please turn up sound on the site. Thank you.
So how does one lone individual carnivalesque protest respond to the weight of this force?
I created this rat character to mimic and critique this, to make visible the invisible.
The collective noun for rats is a mischief. So I created the Envoy of Mischief who appeared from the cracks in the city. She taught herself the language of the city so she is fluent in the language of construction and real estate. She has her own website ratrealestate.com where you can buy your very own Zone. Rather than realestate though she is selling a revolutionary dream. ( like all great deals it comes a long list of terms and conditions applying) She is selling the Temporary Autonomous Zone (TAZ). An idea coined by Hakim Bey, an American anarchist author, based on the notion of the pirate utopias of the 18th century.
In TAZ.The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism he describes the zone as
“ an uprising which does not engage directly with the state, a guerilla operation which liberates an area ( of land, of time, of imagination ) and then dissolves itself to reform elsewhere/ elsewhen, before the state can crush it” (p99)
This description sits eloquently with The Envoy's act of poetic terrorism in the way the artist creates a Zone, claiming it as a TAZ, then packs it away to move onto the next space that I will claim through my performative action.
One individual Zone at a time. The Envoy of Mischief dreams that ultimately all the zones purchased will combine to cover all of melbourne.