We will be having a film night at Common Ground this coming Friday showing three documentaries about abandonment, development and habitation in North Brooklyn.
All three are excellent films (see descriptions below) and will be followed by a short discussion about housing and development in North Brooklyn with the filmmakers and a representative from St. Nicks Alliance.
Also, if you haven’t gotten to see the show, come by a little early (the gallery is open from 3pm) to check out the 20 participating artists’ works in this unique new space. We had a great time at the opening, the work looks wonderful and it generated many interesting conversations.
DREAM HOUSE/OPEN HOUSE/OUR HOUSE
Friday, Oct. 1
2 Kingsland Avenue, Garden Level (C)
Brooklyn, NY (L train to Graham Ave.)
DREAM HOUSE by Laura Grace Chipley
13 minutes, 2008
Dream House is an experimental documentary about desire, memory and loss. After happening upon a derelict Victorian house in Williamsburg, a young couple becomes obsessed with moving in and starting a life there. After unsuccessful attempts to gather information about the property from city agencies, they break into the house only to find a drug-addicted man and woman already living inside, among the abandoned possessions of the house’s former owners. Mutual alarm soon gives way to a shared sense of awe, as the squatters give the young couple a tour of the house.
OPEN HOUSE by Diane Nerwen
31 minutes, 2009
“Readily visible under the thin veneer of real estate ads pushing Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s future as a destination for the moneyed, yet “hip”, classes is an urban renewal project on a scale not seen since Robert Moses’ “slum” clearance of the 1960’s. Documenting the brutal nature of the development spree which occurred as a result of the neighborhood’s re-zoning from light manufacturing/residential to the loosening of codes that allowed for forty story towers on the waterfront, Nerwen’s video offers stark evidence against the cheerful notion that the unrestricted laws of free markets are “good for everyone”. With images of a neighborhood being literally torn apart by outside developers capitalizing on a frenzied housing market, and locals under pressure to “sell out” while the price is right, this work documents aspects of an incredible drama that has been woefully underreported in the mainstream media.” — Peter Scott
OUR HOUSE by Greg King & David Teague
56 minutes, 2010
On Dan Taylor’s first day out of prison he had nowhere to go, and faced one of the most important choices of his life: to return to his past of drug addiction or to try for something better. Through a chance encounter the next day, he met Derek, a young Christian anarchist, who invited him to move into a new and very unusual community. Called “Our House,” it was an alternative to the impersonal shelter system, providing the homeless a safe place where everyone lived communally (and illegally) in an abandoned warehouse. Besides a roof and healthy food, Dan also found new friends, a spiritual haven in a makeshift ‘prayer tent,’ and the hope of putting his life back together. But when the building is set for demolition to make way for luxury condos, Dan and the other residents must confront the inevitable end of their community and what that will mean for their futures.