—Sam Adler-Bell focuses on labor and mass incarceration.
“The Art of Gentrification,” by Madeleine Schwartz. Dissent, Winter 2014
I've started to think of artists as the sorcerer's apprentices of gentrification, unwitting unleashers of destructive forces they neither understand nor control. Here, Madeleine Schwartz examines how gentrification finds its aesthetic articulation in the "post-industrial" style of Donald Judd, who repurposed the functional necessities of the factory—furnaces, aluminum, steel—to serve the aesthetic impulses of his art. (In the late 60s, Judd purchased a loft in SoHo, at the very outset of that neighborhood’s transformation from industry to luxury.) The fact that, in the end, artists themselves usually get swept away by the flood waters of "urban revival"—priced out of their once-affordable studios in Bushwick, to pick up and repeat the cycle in Ridgewood—by no means relieves them of complicity for having breached the levees.
—Dustin Christensen focuses on Latin American politics and sports.
“The rise of ‘ostentation funkers’ in Brazil,” by Zeynep Zileli Rabanea. Al Jazeera English, February 5, 2014
A recent phenomenon known as "rolezinho" ("strolling around" in Brazilian Portuguese) has ignited political discussions about the classist and racist segregation of public spaces in Brazil. As exclusive shopping malls for the wealthy (mostly white) minority accumulate around the country—imagine stores, supermarkets, post offices and banks all under one roof, guarded by armed private security—thousands of underprivileged youngsters have responded to calls on Facebook to show up to these malls en masse. These invasions by Brazil's marginalized underclass were spurred by the desire to dance to "ostentation funk" and "meet girls." While these reasons are very much apolitical in nature, the movement has sparked long-overdue conversations about the exclusionary politics of the country's patrician class. The rolezinhos conjure images of 1980s hip-hop DJs in the Bronx stealing power from street lamps to throw street parties; this new phenomenon is merely a recent episode in the history of popular culture challenging conceptions of public space.