JUST BECAUSE I CAN, DOESN’T MEAN I SHOULD
Presented in the street during Bushwick Open Studios, “Just Because I Can, Doesn’t Mean I Should” was an improvised performance response to the words “Move to Detroit” appearing on billboards and in other settings in New York City. The work consisted of a stream of consciousness reflection from the perspective of a former Brooklyn resident who had moved to Detroit in 2012.
In front of patio diners enjoying Sunday brunch, as well as attendees of the annual Bushwick Brooklyn art festival and passing drivers, a series of hashtags were drawn with various colors of chalk in the street, almost all beginning with, “#moveto” followed by the name of a city that is, or has been, considered a desirable destination for artists, such as New Orleans, Paris, Brooklyn, Oakland, Berlin, and Detroit. Interspersed were reflections about community, privilege, capitalism, marketing, and mobility of people and resources.
As a white artist of considerable privilege and freedom of movement, among the founders of Bushwick Open Studios and Arts in Bushwick, and now a resident and presenter and arts administrator in Detroit, I wrapped myself in yellow caution tape to explicitly identify and implicate my body and history within the context of the systems, structures, and individual choices explored and challenged within the performance.
The performance ended with the writing of the words, “#JustBecauseICanDoesn’tMeanIShould.”