QUALITY OF LIFE ENFORCEMENT: A ROVING INQUIRY
THIAGO CARRAPATOSO / NIKI SINGLETON / TODD LESTER
“Quality of Life Enforcement: A Roving Inquiry” was a part of the Art in Odd Places/AiOP festival in New York City. Concerned with how the broken window theory of policing is interpreted and enforced by NYC authorities—under the rhetorical guise of ‘quality of life enforcement’—we are interested in a bigger frame of inquiry than simply how the city allows/accommodates human activity (including creativity). Moreover, we question how the city—as container to contemporary vectors of power—defaults to a legally closed (or closed off) societal space, thus stymying human activity (including creativity) at socio-economic or class levels different from the dominant culture.
The series of walks, subway rides and tours used three personal encounters as starting points for our collaborative inquiry and invitational research process:
[Saturday, October 11, 4-6pm—Roosevelt Avenue walk with members of Queens Neighborhoods United; starting in Queens @ Immigrant Movement International] I was visiting Tania Bruguera’s Immigrant Movement International in Queens and witnessed some police stopping a food vendor and throwing away her food. –Thiago Carrapatoso [Sunday, October 12, 11:30—#4 train ride to the Hall of Fame for Great Americans (Bronx); starting @ Gandhi statue in Union Square Park] I witnessed a panhandler and two buskers (‘it’s showtime’ kids) talking on the subway. The panhandler asked the young guys if, when the police stop them, ‘do they take your money away,’ to which the guys said ‘yes’. –Todd Lanier Lester [Friday, October 10, 2:30-4:30pm—Street art walk; starting in Williamsburg @ El Puente / Espiritu Tierra Community Garden] I was testing a batch of wheat paste in Williamsburg and was stopped by the NYPD anti-graffiti unit; I argued and spent a night in jail. –Niki Singleton