Happy Valley Project Statement / Dec 1

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.

—Kaia Sand
Dec. 1, 2010
Field Work

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About thehappyvalleyproject

The Happy Valley Project is a poetic investigation of the relationship between housing foreclosures and financial speculation. Grappling with the high finance that furthers our economic turmoil seems like a good job for poetry. I borrowed the name of this project from the nearby city that experienced such a high foreclosure rate after the housing bubble burst. This project gathers poets, musicians, economists and others, using poetic form, video, installation pieces, economics lecture, and music. A key format for the Happy Valley project is the Econ Salon, gatherings around economics in various cultural formats (bistros, studios, galleries, etc). The Econ Salons began during the early days of the TARP bailout for financial institutions in 2008 when so many of us were quickly learning about the financial mess (here is a description of past econ salons). Now, two years later, I am interested in furthering those efforts through a poetic practice that brings together vigilance, investigation, and conversation. This project is funded by the Regional Arts and Culture Council.
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