This Is A Black Spatial Imaginary

Streaming Media

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Social justice, Racial justice, Anti-racism


This is a Black Spatial Imaginary is, in part, a project based on research and inquiry over the past several years into the history and current status of Black neighborhoods and repeating instances of displacement. The work brings into dialogue several sources— official planning documents and records from the City archives, showing the rationales and actions of Portland policymakers; news accounts that depict the framing of the problems and possibilities for the Black community in Portland at different points in Portland’s history; materials from community-based organizations that have participated in political and policy debates; and our own work engaging Black community members, from youth to elders and from “the North to the Numbers,” in several artistic and urban planning processes. For the most part, official planning documents represent a white spatial imaginary— a term used by scholar George Lipsitz to describe the application of urban planning and development regulations and public investments to support a landscape of exclusion, segregation, and the accumulation of property value for private interests. This Is A Black Spatial Imaginary considers the movement and fixity of Black communities, by activating past, present and future spaces for Black life. Moving from NW to NE Portland (as Black Portlanders did), the work starts near Union Station at PNCA’s Center for Contemporary Art and Culture, crosses the Broadway Bridge, activates key sites, and ends on the eastside at PCC’s Paragon Gallery, with over 40 of Black artists and scholars coming together to showcase work and share ideas. In shifting through historical and contemporary Black geographies, the work provides clues to understanding how Black possibilities live and breathe. The project grounds itself in collaborative work that span local and global Black geographic imaginaries, bringing both analytics and poetics to fields of practice.

Activation I: Memorial Coliseum Lisa Bates, Sika Stanton, Sharita Towne

Please visit the following links for more information and to see the complete exhibition:
- https://sharitatowne.com/This-is-a-Black-Spatial-Imaginary
- https://works.bepress.com/lisa_bates/31/

Past Screening:
- July 11th, 2020 - “been here” - a collaboration between The Mobile Projection Unit and ariella tai.
- August 10th, 2017 - Converge 45 - Sharita Towne performance, This is a Black Spatial Imaginary, on the East Side of Broadway Bridge.

Producers - Lisa Bates & Sharita Towne
Camera & Editor - Sika Stanton

Persistent Identifier