• Zachary Blair

Machinations

Updated: Sep 3, 2019

***Update: Due to hurricane Dorian shutting down the Orlando International Airport (MCO), this Making and Doing exhibit will be delivered exclusively through electronic means via this site. The link is provided in the conference program.***


As part of an immersive projection installation presented at the Society for Social Studies of Science Annual Meeting in New Orleans in September 2019, this audio-visual experience will allow people to see and hear racial capitalism's university-led development projects that promote technology and innovation at the expense of black communities. The goals of this project are:

  • To raise awareness of the experiences of displaced black communities at the hands of the State.

  • To develop a critical understanding of how narratives of growth and development are framed around technological innovation, creativity, and education. The narratives are marketed to garner widespread support for urban gentrification projects that displace historically black communities.

  • To strengthen the theoretical frame of racial capitalism by demonstrating how past projects of racial segregation are, in today's economy, leveraged as "opportunities" for new growth and development projects that reinforce racial inequality.

  • To discuss new methods of resistance that are being developed by local residents.

  • To identify the imbrications of race and sexuality in late capitalism's urban development projects.

  • To spotlight the ecologies of urban development, in particular the intersections of environmental degradation, public health issues, racial violence, and homophobia.

This exhibit will supplement the paper tentatively titled, "The Violence of Urban Development in Central Florida: A Comparative Analysis of Winter Park and Parramore," which will be presented at the conference on September 6, 2019. As a whole, this project is based on 9 years of fieldwork (and counting) in the neighborhoods of Parramore and Historic Winter Park in Central Florida.


Full Exhibit Description:

Machinations is an immersive audio/visual mosaic comprised of field recordings, soundscapes, photographs, and video recordings of redevelopment projects in the Parramore neighborhood in Orlando, Florida. Built in the 1880s by Orlando’s fourteenth mayor, James B. Parramore, the neighborhood was created to house the city’s black residents during the era of Jim Crow racial segregation. After decades of disinvestment and economic disenfranchisement, the Parramore neighborhood has recently become the site of university-driven revitalization led by a conglomerate of public and private schools that includes the University of Central Florida, Valencia Community College, and Webster University. Since 2017, east Parramore began its transformation into a new “Creative Village” that has been marketed by the city as the future site of Orlando’s technology and digital media industries. It is anticipated that the Creative Village will make Orlando a destination for technological innovation by attracting high-tech companies to the downtown area and spurring job creation in the fields of modeling and simulation. In addition to new college campuses and corporate office spaces, luxury student housing, retail shops, restaurants, sports complexes, and entrainment establishments are also being built to capitalize off of this centrally-located, long-ignored, and historically-black neighborhood.


Parts of the Machinations audio-visual mosaic can be viewed below and include the construction of the UnionWest (student housing building), UCF Dr. Philips Academic Commons, and the Amelia Court luxury apartments:














Construction of the UnionWest student housing building at the new Creative Village in the Parramore neighborhood, adjacent to the downtown business district.



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© 2016 by Zachary Blair