CRITIQUE OF POLITICA ECONOMY - CHAPTER 2

 
Janet Davis
Margaret Sung
Anne Jones
Jacqueline Rhee
Phyllis Long
Mark Dominga
Robert Sanchez
Mary Jones
Jose Long
 

Walking through the old city centre of Portugal's capital city we can not avoid seeing the changing nature of the city. Old buildings are wrapped by scaffolding, the noise of the construction works is interchanged by the noise of the suitcases' small wheels of the tourists walking on the street searching for their Airbnb flat.

The city structure is maybe living one of its most radical changing. Gentrification and touristification force out the old inhabitants from the centre transforming it into a venue for tourists and elite new inhabitants. These phenomena cause the change of the city structure on behalf of profit.

In contrast, walking through the neighbourhoods which are not yet struck by gentrification we will find the “old” inhabitants: mostly old and young men sitting in front of coffee shops, drinking coffee, smoking, chatting. A men-dominated city landscape.

Almost no woman appears in the coffee shops or in the streets, with some exceptions. The women behind the counter, those walking back home with heavy shopping bags and the smiling ones, mostly women of colour, printed on the sugar bags - as the advertisement of the coffee shops - remembering us Portugal's colonial past.

Criticising phenomena like gentrification we often fall in a nostalgic mood, we hope that everything remains the same. But sometimes we forget too, that not everything of the past is better. This doesn't absolve gentrification and touristification by evicting people from the charming city centre and destroying the city structure in name of capitalistic profit, but a critic of it should not result in a nostalgic attitude for a macho and sexist social structure.

Banana Baum#exhibition view.jpg