Today, Los Angeles-based writer and activist Emily Clarke brings us a fascinating look at a video piece protesting Silicone Valley gentrification:
Recently it seems like there’s been a slew of these articles about technology and how it’s destroying the social fabric of our lives, or if the author is older than 25, how it’s created ‘The Me Generation.’ It’s hard to deny how screens have permeated daily life, but what these articles miss is who they miss. Visible: Mark Zuckerberg, Apple execs, iPhone users everywhere. Invisible: Every other effect of the tech industry’s boom. This music video/performance art piece by collaborative Daddie$ Pla$tik (San Cha, Vain Hein, and Tyler Holmes), featuring SF local drag queen Persia, tackles the gentrifying effects of Silicone Valley transplants.
It opens with Persia dancing through green screen magic on the Google Earth Street View of San Francisco, sped up– which transforms the satellite pictures from useful service (e.g., checking out potential apartments in a new city) into opportunistic surveillance. When Persia says “Hey girl, did you tag me in that pic? Hey girl, did you get that eviction notice?” she draws a connection between the supposed boon of a exponentially growing tech industry and predominantly white, male techies with higher incomes looking for shorter commutes. For lower-income communities, communities of color, queer communities, this means getting pushed out. It’s “Queers! We’re on the move! Moving to the East Bay/Living life the broke way/SF keep your money/ Fuck your money!”
With this anti-assimilationist mantra, Daddie$ Pla$tik points to who actually benefits from the influx of tech corporations, and what kind of culture results. “I just wanna be white!” crops up again and again, in a mocking child’s whine; they smear their faces with white paint; San Cha asks Persia for whiteness and Persia responds “For Christmas, girl, for Christmas!” like whiteness is a laptop. Clearly, as people of color, as artists interested in feminism and queer positivity, they are peripheral to the tech industry and its goals. The Google logo replaces the black bar boob censor, literally covering and invisibilizing, but “Google Google Apps Apps” the video makes visible and central the bodies and communities affected by the bleaching of San Francisco
See the “Google Google Apps Apps” video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?