ARCHITECTURE THINKING THESIS
Artists, gentrification and resistance: The example of London’s East End
supervised by D.Hauptman
Creativity is Capitalism’s New War Cry: New Labours neoliberal project of Young British Art is de-and renationalized, melting with the Creative City hype, where real estate developers, art venues and the so- called ‘creative class’ are supposed to embrace each other in the global rat race for competitive cityscapes. Creativity is re- coded into some unpolitical problem solving capacity, that enters the stage with a post- religious aura and the promise of unbureaucratic but passionate and unconditional DIY- commitment to… actually what? Everybody is kewl, the coffee is for free and there is no paid overtime: the artist as a neoliberal role model? Somebody is laughing and the target is moving. Reload and run!
Dolce & Afghaner Artists
London’s East End has historically been London’s territory of the industrial working- class and immigrants. In the contemporary context of London’s urban regeneration and financial exploitation by the developers, it appears that East End is nowadays attracting a new class of inhabitants, the artists who belong to the so- called ‘creative class’. Their location in formerly working- class areas such East London brings along certain transformations to the urban setting in spatial, social and financial terms. The artists are fascinated by the area’s constructed mythology and the aesthetics of ruined industry and slums, which is merely the aesthetics of the poor who they now displace. My intention is to investigate the role of the artistic class in the gentrification process and clarify the steps this phenomenon occurs, focusing on the issue of how contemporary art practices, being a tool of neoliberal market, relate to the transformations of social and spatial environment. Moreover, on the opposite side, being interested to the relationship between art, economy and politics, I am exploring the potential of artistic practices to express a form of resistance against the capitalistic exploitation of space. For that reason I will refer to certain examples of artists that use their production to raise criticism against urban transformations occurring in East End today.