Economic Dignity

Maintaining economic dignity across socio-political divides is fundamental to attaining social justice and ensuring basic human rights for all. This line of inquiry explores how the economic dignity of communities is compromised and/or preserved in varying geopolitical, urban, sub-urban and rural contexts.
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Similar to last year when São Paulo served as launching pad for an ongoing ArtsEverywhere inquiry on the Queer City—tethering its early content to a deep, site-specific process of community organizing and cultural production by—the Economic Dignity inquiry invites an initial series from São Paulo. In so doing, we hope to generate further entanglements between the two themes as demonstrated already by Sabrina Duran’s The Enjoyment of the Pariah: Technologies to Exist at the Margins (of the State).

From my early visits to São Paulo while still living in NYC, I began to pick up on some common ground and contrasts between the two cities, such as debates surrounding NYC’s Highline and São Paulo’s Minhocão and urban safety/security based on personal experience in My Two Muggings, a series of vignettes that continue under the Economic Dignity inquiry.

While will have reached its five-year horizon at the end of 2017, ArtsEverywhere will continue publishing work by artists, activists, journalists, architects, urban planners, and collectives interrogating “The Right to the City,” which is essentially about Economic Dignity.

The partnership page features the articles that have been published to date under the auspices of this program. is an artist-led platform lasting five-years, focused on how people live in, work in, navigate, and share the contemporary city with the Center of São Paulo as our outlook. It gets its name from the ubiquitous lunch counters—convivial, fluorescent-lit, open-walled, laborious, points of commerce—that populate almost every street corner. is about issues that big cities face, different forms of urban power, and The Right to the City, but not insomuch as to define these constructs…but to stretch the platform as far as is necessary to consider diverse viewpoints. takes cues from Henri Lefebvre’s The Right to the City (1968), or one that “demand[s] a transformed and renewed access to urban life,” as well as Michel de Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life (1984) among many others.

São Paulo

Staking a Claim in the City Center

Livia Alexander, New York City, United States 

With photos by José Pelegrini Towards the end of a long day of a walking tour of São Paulo with an international group of prominent architects visiting the city with the Van Alen Institute[1] to explore issues of density with civic leaders and socially-minded organizations, we walked into Teatro Oficina....

Tarcísio’s Bar

Adler Murada, São Paulo, Brazil / Bruxelles, Belgium 

How was I to experiment, artistically, with such a unique location? The residency did not have any fixed format or studio space, discarding then traditional demands of art production. So how would I produce an artistic process based entirely on encounters with a supposed ‘other’? These questions intensify throughout meetings...

Sleeps a Man

Joshua Furst, New York City, United States 

Outside the Edifício Copan sleeps a man. On the steps of a church across from Praça Princesa Isabel, sleeps a man. In a folding chair in the dusty median along the Via Prof. Simão Faiguenboim, sleeps a man. In Praça Franklin Roosevelt, under a banyan tree, sleep four men, shrouded...

Maria and the Right to the Center

Paula Van Erven, São Paulo, Brazil 

Maria do Carmo came to São Paulo when she was eleven years old. Originally from the state of Piauí, she came to help take care of her sister’s children, and ended up staying for good. For over 30 years, Maria has lived in the Bela Vista neighborhood, in the center...