“Rape-New York” un examen de la cultura predatoria en la
ciudad de Nueva York
Rape New York, es un que archivo de “Documentos Afectivos”. ….“documentos
afectivos”…la capacidad de la fotografía no sólo de documentar sino de afectar,
es decir producir una reacción emocional en quien lo ve, en ese sentido es
arte…. Las noticias crean conciencia, el arte crea experiencia. En la línea de
la función antropológica del arte que trata cuestiones cruciales y de la vida
diaria, el libro transmite la realidad emocional de una violación y documenta
sobre un fenómeno de “moving” (favorecer asaltos en edificios de apartamentos
para hacer que los residentes dejen la vivienda y poder subir su alquiler.)
Nueva York no es sólo una ciudad, sino LA CIUDAD, Rape New York desmitifica la
A nivel de lenguaje la compilación de
documentos (records y fotografías de la policia de la escena del crimen,
informes de psicólogos y psiquiatras, informes de detectives sobre la falta de
seguridad del lugar de la violación, etc..) evidencian la reducción de una
experiencia a una colección de hechos. Para suplir esta falta de unidad en la
transmisión de una historia, el libro tiene cuatro partes, o cuatro tracks, más
que cuentan la misma historia de forma diferente : Documentos, texto,
instalaciones de arte y fotografías.
del libro; Rape New York.
‘You scared me! ‘
I said it without screaming, as if he
were playing a joke on me.
For a moment I thought he was a
downstairs neighbour who sometimes smoked in the stairwell. Physically, they
were similar and the light was dim in the hallway and my eyes hadn’t had time
to adjust from the harsh sunlight outside.
I couldn’t believe this man with a gun
was in my doorway. My first response was denial: nothing bad would happen. My
second reaction was to face the reality of the situation and try to handle it
as best I could. ….
I sat on the red love seat that was my
usual resting place when I was home. Sitting on this chair was a desperate
effort to continue as if everything was normal. He sat down diagonally in front
of me on a bed that I used also as a sofa. He held the gun with his hand
resting on his leg, no longer pointing at it at me.
‘Can I have a cigarette?’ He
asked….Statistics tumbled through my mind. My boyfriend, A. had been working on
a project for his studio class about prisons and architecture. “One out of ten
men in the U.S. is or will be in prison. One out of four black men is or will
be in prison.” I felt nervous. What does he want? Does he enjoy playing with
... We paid a deposit on one of the
apartments that was being renovated. A. rented Robocop. In the movie real
estate developers, in conjunction with the government, brought crime into
downtown Chicago, making the area unlivable. When the buildings were abandoned,
they bought them up. By emptying buildings in this fashion, they circumvented
housing regulations.in a scheme to avoid housing regulations.
Robocop was a fictional version of what
was happening in Harlem. Empty buildings were torn down to become the vacant
lots that one day would house condos. I was worried about being resented as
representatives of the gentrification of the area that was displacing its black
community. A. and I stood out because we
were white. But we were not the SUV drivers from New Jersey, who one sees now,
seven years later, parked at 145th Street and Amsterdam in front of “condos for
sale” signs. We were coming from Princeton, but were economically impoverished
like the rest of those now displaced from Harlem. We were afraid of how we
might be perceived.
Bringing crime into an area is a crude
development strategy. A more sophisticated and perverse approach: is to
simultaneously clamp down on street crime and force it into specific buildings
targeted for speculation. On developed blocks, it is necessary to keep the new
tenants of luxury or renovated buildings safe in a formerly risky area.
Bringing crime into buildings targeted for speculation reduces their value so
they may be purchased inexpensively by developers. When I moved to Harlem I
wasn’t aware of how the mechanics of this operation worked on a small scale nor
how it related to our new apartment and how it will influence our lives.
By failing to secure the common areas of
targeted buildings, crime was facilitated. Eventually, this forced the tenants to
leave. Their rapid turnover was profitable. Agents kept the security deposit,
increased the rent for the next tenant and charged illegal broker’s fees. In a
thirty-apartment building, if a third of the tenants move yearly, income
doubles, yielding an extra one hundred thousand dollars. Low-income housing,
exploited this way, has the potential to be much more profitable than
high-income rentals. I later learned that the landlord who owned my building,
S.G., was a multimillionaire who owned mostly low-income rentals.
Once a building is allowed to fall
completely vacant, rent stabilization laws no longer apply, and it can be
converted into luxury housing.
We moved in October 2000. We spent the
fall sorting out the apartment as our home and office. A. assembled tables and
bookshelves, installed lighting and hung photos. My strength often failed me
when we moved furniture; I had not completely recovered from my motorcycle
accident. I did the painting and organized the cabinets. The weather was still
warm. A. began to go to a basketball court, joining the young men playing in
the park on the corner of 129th and St. Nicholas. Outside the basketball court,
a group of men sat on a bench for hours at a time. People approached them for
short interactions and left. I would walk to the top of the park and come back
down to pick him up, or sometimes, I just watched A. play. We combined our time
researching in the Avery Library with part-time teaching jobs. I taught
architecture at Cooper Union, assisting P. E., a former professor of mine from
Princeton. A. held the post of visiting professor at Pratt, teaching an
architecture course called Prison-Land,. A.’s course took as its starting point
recent U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics that one out
of twenty Americans would serve time in prison during their lifetime.
A map by the Spatial Information Design
Lab and the Justice Mapping Center shows that the New York prison population
comes largely from a few neighborhoods such as Brownsville and Harlem. The map
relates men admitted to prison and the cost to keep them there for a year, with
the place where they lived before they were incarcerated, evaluating how much a
block in a certain area will cost the government. The study found that the
inmates not only come from specific neighborhoods, but also from specific
blocks. As a result, these came to be known as “Million Dollar Blocks”.
The unusual parameters and the precise
focus of the study, help to shows the concentration of crime in blocks and not
neighborhoods. But by looking isolated relations between facts, restricts the
view to the subject of study and fails to grasp the whole reality. What this
study does made me aware of what it doesn’t. The study is framed as an
experiment, not as an experience.
No link is made in the study between the
neighborhoods that supply the prison population, and the locations of the
current explosion in property development. The study simply doesn’t address how
the concentration of crime in certain blocks indirectly supports the business
interests of developers who can now develop the rest of the area and how real
estate agents get extra earnings from tenants rapidly moving out. Likewise the
study, by failing to look at the cost of a block for the victims of crime, and
for the area’s un-incarcerated residents as a whole, assumes that the
government suffers the greatest losses from crime.