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"The Life of an Apartment "1983
A configuration of found objects, documentation and personal statement. Exhibited at ABC No Rio

"Not For Sale: A project Against Displacement"
Sponsored by PADD, Group Material, Metropolitan Council on Housing, June 1983

All photographs and objects were found during the renovation/re-habitation of 37 Canal St after 40 years of vacancy.

Statement (excerpts)
"I had to move. My landlord told me so. He wanted the apartment for himself. He had prepared me, given me two years notice he said. When he first bought the building I had already lived there for six years. It was a rent-controlled apartment. He seemed like a nice guy……First he wanted the parlor floor… My personal life was in shambles and I did want to make a change.  My apartment had been broken into. The rats were out of control and essential services had been interrupted.  The ceiling fell down and a huge hole dug-out denying access to the backyard……..I saw an add in the newspaper. It said,
“8 Apartments for Rent
Good for Artist to Fix-up.
CHEAP”
At first I thought it must be some kind of joke….At first we did not tell each other the special deals we had made with the landlord.

I don’t want to be forced or coerced into moving again. The business of displacing people is a dirty one. It happens daily all over New York City, especially here on the Lower East Side.
The question that keeps coming back to me is : “Where do all the people go?”

I wondered who lived in my apartment before me. I found pieces of life from a long time ago but no answers..."

Elements of the Installation

  • Wedding Photograph found on site was enlarged and placed behind bars (window opening) to the hallway of this tenement apartment.

  • Vines from the garden apartment I left in Brooklyn wind around the bars.

  • An Altar or Stage display numerous objects found during renovation including curtains, linens, iron, newspapers

  • Documents pertaining to change and renewal relating to #35 - 37 Canal St. found in the archives of Department of Housing and were wheat-pasted on the walls of the gallery.

  • Photographs during the renovation along with a personal statement hang in front of the documents.

© 2016 by Olivia Beens

Email: oliviabeens@gmail.com

Photo Credits:

Sherman Sussman

Regina Cherry

Chris Bolton

Seth Rubin

Peteris Krumins