Vanishing Discotecas (2013 – 2015) Photography, video, community panel
In 2013, I bought a house in a gentrified neighborhood in East Downtown Houston. This was the beginning of my work “Vanishing Discotecas.” Properties ranged from new to dilapidated. Modern townhouses and run down Victorians with street dogs and roaming chickens. I explored by bike and wondered about its future. The Hispanic bars (discotecas) I encountered seemed to epitomize the gentrification process in East End. They belonged to the historic community but stood in opposition to the developing neighborhood.
I found a small section of discotecas along Harrisburg Boulevard whose location now made them prime real estate opportunities. What would happen to them? That became the focus of “Vanishing Discotecas,” which includes video, photography and a community discussion with civic leaders regarding East Downtown.
Photos in the exhibition illustrate two points of view: those of the real estate developer and those of the neighborhood locals. Videos give us a glimpse inside these spaces and the panel seeks to identify issues not necessarily solve them. “Vanishing Discotecas” investigates the complex issues of gentrification and uses art as a catalyst.
The public panel will be held on March 16th at 6:00 pm. Participants include: Diane Barber, Managing Director of East End Foundation, Diane Schenke, President, Greater East End Management District, and Linda Trevino, Senior Stakeholder Affairs Representative, METRO.
I believe that art practices have the opportunity to connect disparate communities especially those that interact, intersect, and overlap. In doing so, they can ignite engagement and provide a venue for thoughtful discussion. “Vanishing Discotecas” aspires to this objective.
This project and accompanying panel discussion summary will be presented at the University of Cambridge (UK), ART / MONEY / CRISIS symposium hosted by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities in April 2016.
Showings / Presentations:
- ART / MONEY / CRISIS, Centre for Research in Arts and Social Sciences, University of Cambridge (April 2016) Cambridge, United Kingdom
- Miami Photo Salon, Art Basel | Miami Beach week (December 2014) Miami, Florida
- Lawndale Art Center, FotoFest 2016 (11 March – 16 April 2016) Houston, Texas
- Lawndale Art Center, Community Panel Discussion (16 March 2016) Houston, Texas