PRINT Summer 2017


THE EVER-UNFOLDING VIOLENCE of gentrification and its heartless displacement and cultural demolition are irreversible. Despite the predictable consequences, collectively speaking, we keep going down the path, armed with the pretense that development is inevitable. While socioeconomic forces that fuel and enact gentrification appear to be out of reach and unpreventable, Sarah Schulman aptly calls individual consciousness and deeds into question in her 2012 book The Gentrification of the Mind:

Gentrified happiness is often available to us in return for collusion with injustice. We go along with it, usually, because of the privilege of dominance, which is the privilege not to notice how our way of living affects less powerful people. Sometimes we do know that certain happiness exists at the expense of other human beings, but because we’re not as smart as we think we are, we decide that this is the only way we can survive. Stupidity or cruelty become the choice, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. After all, people and institutions act on and transform each other. So, it’s not happiness at the expense of the weaker versus nothing, right? And yet we are led to feel this way.

Julie Ault is an artist, curator, and editor in New York.