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This zine was commissioned for the Museum of Contemporary Art’s inaugural The Commons Artist Project. The zine supplements the interactive and tactile installation, which tackles the politics of public space, by educating attendees on the history of redlining, health disparities, and persistent boundaries that separate and segregate.
The zine challenges attendees to pass on this information, educate children, and includes a map that shows Chicago’s racial imbalance.
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Redlining is the historic practice of arbitrarily denying mortgages to certain neighborhoods based on discriminatory criteria. Developed in the 1930s to resuscitate America’s post-Depression housing market, the practice forever altered the makeup of American cities by preventing the accumulation of wealth via home-ownership to generations of minorities and by forcing minorities to live in neighborhoods unable to access capital. Though banned for decades, its legacy still shapes our lives and the practice is alive and well as banks continue to routinely deny financing to minorities or charge much higher rates.
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In working with MCA’s artist-in-resident, I wanted to highlight that redlining’s effects are pervasive but invisible, and its scars are just one type of boundaries that shape the cities we live in – without even noticing it. I developed the content to make a concise argument that undoing its damage is something we all are responsible for – especially those who have benefited. Given the museum’s broad audience, the zine is meant to be an approachable but unapologetic conversation-starter that will – hopefully – cause people to stop and think.