Experiencing Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Prior to visiting Bushwick, Brooklyn, I told myself that I had to remove all emotional connections and anecdotal experience. This is something I kept reminding myself as the L train zoomed stop, after stop. Upon arriving to Bushwick, one gets the sense of opportunity and hope. It has been a while since I have visited; there were many new shops, restaurants, bars and coffee shops. In addition to this, there has been an emergence of street art that has decorated every unoccupied wall in the street; this art replaced the chicken scratch graffiti that seems to be a nuisance to everyone.

The street are filled with young, professional, artsy millennials promenading through the street—most with Ray Ban sunglasses on their faces and take-out coffee cups in hand. It is a place that is up and coming, a place of opportunity and a place of freedom. The young people do as they wish, they only talk amongst themselves, and their dogs entered food establishment, which disregards New York City Health Code, however the thought never crosses their mind. They do as they wish. Business owners don’t mention this for fear of losing business, seems like an innocuous thing to talk about, but it this highlights a sense of entitlement or even the ability of doing as you wish. Contrastingly, there is a different way of going about life for the native population that is increasing becoming a smaller minority. Their lives seem to be much more limited than their new neighbors. They look down when walking by, move out of the way when walking on the side-walk and even stop and wait for me to finish taking photos as I hog up the sidewalk. Even mothers with young children wait patiently for me to finish taking photos. The newer population disregards my photos; they walk right past my photography, in a hurry to grab that very important soy latte.

I walked through the park and there is where I saw the mst separation. The playground is homogeneous, nothing but Latino children, not a single “new to Bushwick” child in sight. The only congregation of new Bushwick folk and the native population happen at the dog run; still these encounters can be quite hostile. These encounters are accompanied by the occasional dogfight.

All of the physical stimuli stated above gives off affect. According to Theresa Brennan in The Transmission of Affect, she argues for this, she states “I stress again that I am using the term “transmission of affect” to capture a process that is social in origin but biological and physical in effect” (Brenna 2). So this means that many of the feelings and emotions people get from visiting Bushwick, Brooklyn are both physical and social. For example, the separation of the children in the playground can physically make you feel as if something is not right (because you can physically see white children on the streets but not in the playground) and you get an affect from the social connotations–the politics of gentrification. Moreover these stimuli can have real biologically affects. In the Autonomy of Affect Brian Massumi makes this clear, He states, “Both levels, intensity and qualification, are immediately embodied. Intensity is embodied in purely autonomic reactions most directly manifested in the skin—at the surface of the body, at its interface with things. Depth reactions belong more to form/content (qualification) level, even though they also involve autonomic functions such as heartbeat and breathing.” (Massumi 25). This means that the affects of Bushwick affect those who live there, work there and walk by on the biological level.

-Michael Rivas

~ by michaelrivasnyu on February 20, 2017.