Untitled & Dispossessed

Untitled & Dispossessed: A Re-Commoning Map of Santa Cruz People, Property and Garbage

DSA Santa Cruz Ecosocialist Working Group & Friends
Santa Cruz, California, USA

Untitled and Dispossessed, an artistic-activist mapping project of one highway intersection in Santa Cruz, CA, tells a story of how the property-less—those without leases or titles to land—are reduced to waste and effectively dispossessed of home, dignity, and humanity. Environmental waste (including highway pollution, light industry smog and particulate matter, consumer discards, and wildfire atmospheric toxicity) plays a leading role. The city’s waste (mis)management practices, in failing to extend adequate sanitation services to the houseless, produce geographies of organized abandonment (with high rates of BIPOC). Policing and vigilantism collapse waste and racialized bodies in expressions of eco-fascism, built on colonial legacies of white supremacy in one of the highest cost-of-living cities in the US (where original Indigenous inhabitants cannot afford to live even nearby). We tell this story of stories through conversations, sound clips, documentary photos, drawings, GIS mapping, and political analysis, in order to imagine—and begin to realize—an emancipatory future.

Joy Schendledecker does creative work in a variety of media including fibers, sculpture, collage, printmaking, and photography. She has a longstanding preoccupation with bodies and gender, matter-out-of-place, attraction/repulsion, labor, and materiality. Her current work focuses on petrochemicals, plastics, marine debris, and sanitation justice in unhoused communities, through the multiple lenses of discard studies, environmental justice, and toxic post/humanness in the era of the Anthropocene/ Chthulucene/ Capitalocene. Joy attended Maryland Institute College of Art and University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She lived in London for 10 years before moving to Santa Cruz with her partner and children in 2015.

Lisa Sprinkle is a socialist organizer and artist whose background is in technical theater. She has worked extensively in fiber arts, costume design and construction, and dramaturgy. Her interests are in bringing a historical focus to gentrification, prison, homelessness, inequality and racism. She is currently on the executive committee of the Santa Cruz chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America as well as a member of their Ecosocalist, Racial Justice, and Mutual Aid working groups. She grew up in the small agricultural town of Half Moon Bay, and now lives in Santa Cruz California.

Kelly Archer works professionally as a civil and environmental engineer in Santa Cruz. She has worked on projects ranging from remediating groundwater and soil due to toxic industrial use to designing decentralized wastewater treatment systems. Outside of engineering work, Kelly has a history of basic needs organizing in the university environment, mapping racial injustices in California drinking water systems, and supporting mutual aid efforts in her local community. Kelly brings to this team cartographic skills, technical knowledge of pollutant fate and transport, as well as an intimate knowledge of homelessness.

Connor O’Hara-Baker is active in the Ecosocialist Working Group of Santa Cruz DSA. He restores and stewards native habitats for a local conservation organization and is passionate about abolition ecology and multi-species justice. He is excited to contribute mapping and survey design skills to help document the disparities in sanitation and shelter access in Santa Cruz. 

Sabrina Lopez is a Health Program Specialist with Santa Cruz County Division of Public Health and co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America Santa Cruz Chapter. She is particularly passionate about the ties between socialist organizing and climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts. She is also on the board of directors for the non-profit organization Eat for the Earth, which works towards climate change mitigation through promoting more sustainable food and agriculture industries. She has experience working with the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Justice Task Force, and wishes to continue working to fight environmental racism through a public health and equity lens. In her free time, she chases the Santa Cruz sunset views with her dog, Brekkfust. 

Ann Altstatt is an interdisciplinary artist whose work explores geologic and non-linear time, the intersections of scientific inquiry and mysticism, and the hidden stories of everyday objects. Their other research interests include paleontology, human relationships with the non-human, and multi-species survival in the face of global climate chaos. As a founding collective member at The Fábrica since 2010, Ann’s arts practice remains informed by community engagement and collaborative processes. They are honored to be recognized as a 2020/2021 Rydell Visual Arts Fellow. Ann lives in the historic floodplain of the San Lorenzo River with their partner and young daughter, a cat, a dog, five chickens and innumerable termites.

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