Lunch Talk: “Estates of Sanctuary: The Struggle Against Information Asymmetry”

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities & Cultural Heritage
, Lecture Room

Libertad O. Guerra, Executive Director, Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center (New York, NY).

Memory is for us all a sanctuary; but at the scale of the individual person memory remains utterly insufficient as a place to anchor the histories and traditions of whole communities. These communal histories - key components in current struggles against gentrification, for example - are inscribed in the public and private places occupied, utilized, appropriated and inhabited by these communities. These spaces are repositories of data that can help groups stay visible in information-heavy environments (like NYC), a place that is over-narrated at times (Fashion, Abstract Expressionism, Skyscrapers, Finance, Mad Men, etc.) and under-narrated to the point of invisibility at others. This is why we need to look at estates (property, real and public) as a sanctuary that can help us tell other types of histories about ourselves, in that perennial struggle against noise and invisibility.