"Twisted Lollipopland"

Medium: installation
Subject: cityscape
Style: political
Size: Width: 90 Height: 20 cms
Price: $0
Notes: Twisted Lollipopland consists of a piece of turf enclosed by a fence, in the shape of the above city. The street map is recreated using pearl beads on the grass. A white on green sign on the wall reads “Twisted Lollipop City Limit, Pop. 13,057 Elev. Out of Reach”. Twisted Lollipoland showcases a particular street design and examines how such blueprints reflect the values and attitudes of their community. The artist is interested in the politics of the suburbia and how 18th century architects such as Olmsted laid out a utopian vision of suburbia as an egalitarian institution with open and unfenced lawns that flow unhindered to one another, obscuring the boundaries between homes and contributing to a sense of community of equals. Belonging to such a community was then a sign of accomplishing the American dream. The suburbs themselves are now being abandoned in favor of gated communities, that are closed, fenced and fiercely protected. Some such enclaves are as large as cities, with their own roads, parks, amenities in private governance. At least four gated communities in Southern California alone are incorporated cities. As geographer Le Goix points out “this shift from a city with public spaces towards urbanization built of private enclaves is argued to be a secession by an elite opposed to the welfare redistribution system”. Twisted Lollipopland presents such a private enclave in Orange County. According to American FactFinder, it ranks #1 US city for the highest household income with median resident age less than 35. But it is most well known for the controversial debate about whether to open a public school inside the gates for the children of their residents alone. The project was later rejected by those who feared a public school on premises would necessitate access to outsiders. On a literal level, Twisted Lollipopland refers to a street layout designed to maximize privacy and protection of privileges. Each winding street terminates in a dead end, and no more than three streets cross one another, so the roads are safe and secure. Gatecrashers are inevitably disoriented and discouraged. The New World was supposed to be founded upon principles of equality and freedom; the Americans fought the Civil War to further pursue those ideas and struggled through the Civil Rights movement to end segregation. However, the rise of fortress cities in contemporary America marks a drive toward not only physical but also social and legal segregation. The question then becomes, what is the American dream today… egalitarian segregation?

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