I launched this project after reading an article two years ago about the high foreclosure rate in Happy Valley by Ryan Frank in the Oregonian. I was also reading Mike Davis’s Planet of Slums about the the millions of people who live in impermanent dwellings across the globe. My work began to dwell on the uneven distribution of shelter.
Some of us take up so much space for our shelter. Some, so little. We dwell in a landscape of foreclosed houses, those shells of shelter, and also, shelter-less people.
My investigation zeroed on the financial speculation that puffed around the housing foreclosures. Its complexity and obscurity are its power. Thus, I doggedly read, focusing less on the over-aspiring homeowner or even the real estate flipper, and more on the leveraging that was so extreme, it could collapse the economy.
Seems like a good subject for poetry. I am interested in a poetic practice that insists on inexpert inquiry, gathering ideas and ways of knowing to open a space for more collaborative inquiry. This project brings together people with may ways of knowing and creating–video creation & installation, radio talent, economics, magic, whistling, sewing, writing, organizing …
A key format for the Happy Valley project is the Econ
Salon, gatherings around economics in cultural formats.
Dec. 1, 2010