• MA in Visual & Critical Studies

  • Henry Witecki

  • Malia Rose Helfmeyer - CCA Graduate Thesis Events

    Malia Rose Helfmeyer


    Thesis Abstract

    The images and texts that have been used to promote the 5M Project, a pending urban development project in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, reveal an underlying agenda of neoliberal capitalism and demonstrate the role of culture in the production and politics of space. 5M’s use of historical motifs and promises to preserve historic structures disavow the trauma and injustices that define the area’s past; the identification of 5M as a “creative development” contorts the countercultural ethos of creative communities to promote redevelopment; and the 5M discourse that describes the current neighborhood as “underutilized” and “lacking cultural activity” devalues the existing utility of the area and dehumanizes the low-income populations who live there. The 5Ws (2012–13) by Ana Teresa Fernandez is a public art installation at the 5M development site that addresses the real consequences that result from discursive productions of space.