VOGUE copyright Conde Nast
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© 2017 KM Fikes
|© 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer|
A gift, most gentlesoulfolk. Tied in a
C'mon, now, my good peops. Dorothy's house lands on a Wicked Witch - right after expressing healthy curiosity "over the (queered) rainbow". Doña Rosa's house 'lands' in Berlin as an indictment of yon American Dream's urban blight in conjunction with a disregard for our young nation's Civil Rights legacy. Couldn't find a seat on a Southern bus - in life - nor foundation for her Northern home - after death. Eva displaced - a heroine in her own nation. Dorothy, bored in Kansas, lands 'on' Oz's alleged dictator. 'Twixt Thomas Frank (What's the Matter With Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, 2004) or L. Frank Baum (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, 1900), who proved mo' 'Frank' in his framing of a country's heartland? Who was mo' adept at tracking how its arrhythmia impacts its health? The gingham-donned niece of Kansas is heralded by oppressed Munchkins for breaking up a coven of a sister act, killing feminized 'evil'. Doña Rosa's house, carried by the tornado of economic Darwinism that is Capitalism's underbelly, via hyper-symptomatic Detroit, lands upon a gentrified graveyard, of sorts. Turkey or Cambodia or Bosnia or Rwanda or (Myanmar?) ...or...or... notwithstanding, Doña Rosa's neo-patch of planet is widely considered the most symbolic ghost of genocidal 'evil'. "Ding-dong" dead yet the spirit resurrects - at present - in the neo-threat of some resurgence of nationalism. Yet n' still? 'Tis, indeed, a Berlin garden providing sanctuary for the abandoned abode of an icon.
PRINT MAGAZINE article, These Boots Are Made For Walking, Walking Over You, 09.27.2011
Art - of the absurdist variety - to the rescue. In this case? One artist: Ryan Mendoza. And one city: Berlin. Berlin, like Winnipeg, Johannesburg, and Adelaide, engages the R-word: Reconciliation. One cannot verify if Munchkins constitute the Indigenous or First Oz inhabitants. Nevadaless, from Canada to South Africa to Australia, "Reconciliation", the word and official 'way', is oft joined with "Truth". R. Mendoza, an American artist, also a Berlin transplant, accepted the donation from Parks’ niece, Rhea McCauley, after her five-hundred dollar purchase of the dilapidated structure. Mendoza dismantled it, plank by plank, to then ship the prefab 'crib' overseas where it might serve as duel art installation and social commentary. A few leaves, Emerald-City-green in spring and Yellow-Brick-Road-hued in fall, scratch the white-curtained windows looking out upon history-saturated Berlin - once ground zero for a World War's dystopic anti-Oz. What the French might reference: théâtre de l'absurde. To misquote hip-hop pioneers, Run-D.M.C:
© 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer Rosa Parks' Detroit dwelling, #2672, 'relocated' to Berlin as art exhibition
Post-struggle Sixties, 2672 South Deacon Street was the humbled locale were archactivist, Rosa Parks (1913 - 2005) took shelter. Could Detroit prove a haven from Jim Crow death threats? Alas, a casualty of the 2008 subprime crisis, the hallowed as condemned property stood its ground - as its famed inhabitant had done on a bus. Her stance, in 1955, fought the vestiges of the empire that was the institution of slavery; manufacturing empire's Romanesque ruins dot blocks in Detroit. Wall Street was first an unpaved Road, exploited by those privileged enough to Follow the
Since absurdity lacks an existential rationale, the current transatlantic 'status' of 2672 South Deacon soars upon a remnant - ridiculous: the surreal wings of an epithet-ed monkey.
In esteemed acknowledgment of, and alliance with, all gender-equity promoting Trans visibility, one respectfully redirects absurd attention to the original prefix. Consider, if ye will, "trans", in any benign context of its root definition: "across" or "beyond". Is Parks' trans-'base' occupyin' some kinda quantum dimension? Or doomed to remain a phantom base or baseless Waiting chase For a Godot who shall neva grace "all the world's stage"?*
Mendoza named a similar former residence, recycled as art piece: The White House. The project was not devoid of controversy. Some critique was intellectual in nature, referencing 'appropriation' concerns. Other detractors were more culturally inclined to conceivable exploitation of a community. For the practically bent, citing inconvenience to local residents was a priority. All arguments hold their relevance and are, by no means, disregarded. Howe'er, here, Mendoza has effectively incited an absurdist's coup - literally in his own Berlin background. Any tension, then, is tentatively welcome; the complexity challenges the conscience. How we each choose to rise to that challenge affirms Art's intent.
One pauses - reverently as reflectively yet above all, absurdly - tip-toein' across this
Dorothy, in a field, meeting a scarecrow robbed of mind © 1997 Tim Rooke/Rex
Princess Diana strolling an Angolan live minefield:
raising awareness for children robbed of limbs
Some two-thousand years back, Roman philosopher, Gaius Plinius Secundus or Pliny the Elder (AD 23 - AD 79) mused: "Home is where the heart is." Today? 'Home' may be google-mapped inside the hollowed tin 'round one's respective heart. 'Home' is the core of any well-organized website. 'Visitors' begin 'at home' yet instinctively seek the menu to move beyond. Encouraged to search, 'users' might even be thanked for visitation. One click - not of ruby slippers but tech apparatus - returns the visitor/user 'home'. A home, at its optimum, should not be taxing, but restorative. Daresay, grounding. A house, howeva, accumulates taxes that come due.
Outside 'the' home, our identity-politicized zeitgeist has embraced the term, "safe space", or rather, the creation/maintenance of such space on college campuses, workplaces, and even public lavatories. The implication and equation of empathetic inclusiveness of 'diversity' as 'safe' speaks to, perchance, some increased awareness of social dynamics comprising a 'sound' framework within those walls regulated by government and industry construction.
One cannot know if the late Rosa Parks might have, at the very least, nodded towards 'H2Omeloncholic™' as some viable descriptor for her own space on the planet. Space - as contention - seems a theme here tho', yo. Even has a theme song from The Wiz, HOME. The original Dorothy's privilege could wonder past the 'rainbow' - from black and white film to 1939 technicolor. (*1939: a central year in Berlin for Third Reich housing policies*). The demographic of that 1975 Wiz? Celluloid rainbows pale in comparison to justice in full spectrum. "There's no place like" that which remains (like authentic citizenship) illusive or volatile. From entitlement to sit on public transportation to an appropriate memorial for her physical address, was Parks' 'space' eva 'safe'? Was it settled or nigh the holistic notion of Reconstructed-forty-acre-ed-mule-ed settlement? Or did Parks neva 'park', remaining in perpetual migration - even post-mortem? Had she clicked her heels, where might Parks have arrived? Might she have reached her
* "All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts...
Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene 7
from Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team -
page, BERLIN: THE CITY and the HOLOCAUST:
"Also in December 1938, the evacuation of Jews from residences in the prestigious parts of Berlin was launched, the official pretext being Albert Speer’s plans for the re-building of Berlin. At that point the Jewish community’s housing advisory office – which was subject to city police orders – was given wide powers regarding the housing of Berlin’s Jews.
In the final stages when the community was being liquidated, the data accumulated by that office was a major source for drawing up the lists of Jews to be deported to the death camps."
a clever as compassionate critique
on the implausibility
Til our next 'post', feast upon produce in season...
© 2017 KM Fikes
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