The ReConstruction of Pilsen
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This is a photography SIP about the gentrification in a neighborhood of Chicago called Pilsen. In this project, I will be showcasing before and after images of the gentrification in Pilsen. There are twelve prints; six of the photos will be cyanotype, a process of photography that makes the image turn blue. I decided to use the cyanotypes of the historical photos to give off that feeling that it’s old. The remaining six, contemporary images, are digital. In addition, I added Five small photos are murals scattered around Pilsen along with three larger prints which are also murals. The purpose of this SIP is to have a visual representation of what gentrification does to a neighborhood. To educate the audience on gentrification. To reflect on gentrification. To think about other big cities that are being affected by gentrification. This project is also about social awareness. Think about all the families who were kicked out of their homes because rent got too high because of gentrification.I produced three mini-projects that led me to get to my SIP. The first project was a series of photographs about Mexican stereotypes. The stereotypes I used for this project were a drug trafficker, a rapist, and a gang member. In this project, I was standing in front of the camera with a piece of cardboard on which I wrote that I am not those stereotypes. In the last photo, I wrote Soy Mexicano, I’m Mexican, and I’m here to stay. I did this artwork to showcase to the audience that not all Mexicans are what the media had portrayed us to be. This project was to represent me resisting the labels that others wanted to put on me— without knowing who I am. The second project was about finding one’s self. I took pictures of myself wearing regular clothes doing random things. Then, I changed into a traditional Mexican outfit, and I framed it to look like I’m looking at myself. Once I finished taking the pictures, I combined both images together with Photoshop to give a doppelganger effect. In this project, I wanted the audience to notice that, as a Mexican-American, it’s hard to decide where we belong because sometimes, we are not welcome from either side. In America, we are told that we are too Mexican because we speak too much Spanish. In Mexico, we get laughed at for the way we speak Spanish. They say we are too American, which causes many Mexican-Americans to feel stuck in life. The third project was about immigration. In this project, I used the concept of immigrant children being locked up in cages. I used a stuffed animal to represent an immigrant child, I used a dog cage to represent the environment these immigrant children have to sleep in. In the back made a sign that said “My culture should not be in a cage”. I wanted to notify my audience that immigrant children are still being separated from their parents, locked up in cages, and the US government is not doing anything about it. I also wanted to showcase how cruel it looks when a human being is being treated like they’re animals.