Mona Gazala

multi-disciplinary artist

Gentrification Sucks - A Mobile Disruption Project

Gazala's "Mobile Disruption" project is a text- and commercial-advertising-based series of art actions that call for a re-examination of the conversations and verbal tropes that have been used to not only characterize the current developments in Franklinton as exculsively positive, but to erase all knowledge or acknowledgement of the pre-existing community.



 Riverside Bradley 127 family housing units. GONE 2011

 Sunshine Terrace  179 senior housing apartments. GONE 2015

These actions concentrate focus on the area of East Franklinton where River and Rich, a new "mixed use" development (meaning luxury condominium and commercial space, not mixed-income), is being built on the Scioto riverfront property that once was the site of low-income public housing for hundreds of people.

Online conversations as of autumn 2017 are still dominated by the idea that gentrification has not yet happened, because the only land being developed is "vacant" land. Meaning it was vacant for a time after the housing projects were demolished. Not only does this opinion show a callous refusal to understand the dynamics of how uncontrolled real estate speculation negatively affects low-income families in the surrounding community, but it's a chilling example of how hundreds of people can be displaced from their homes and forgotten, with only silence left in their wake.


 Before breaking ground, March 2017



 Sunshine Terrace, Senior Public Housing High-Rise, demolished 2015






A Few Words on Blight

"The word 'blight' describes one leg of a strategic cycle of disinvestment, condemnation, renewal and gentrification, turning public resources into a goldmine for private pillage and profit by the wealthy few, against the interests of the public. Whether deployed against homes, schools, or {in Columbus, public housing}, "blight" is a weaponized word that hijacks the conversation by its preoccupation with cosmetic concerns, distracting from the systemic disinvestment, racism and classism that create blight in the first place. Abandonment and planned redevelopment are straight out of the gentrifier's handbook." - Blights Out, New Orleans



 River and Rich. Proposed development to be completed in 2018.  (Casto). And one of the reasons Franklinton is being referred to as the hot new development "frontier." Gazala will be exploring the use of tropes like "frontier," "pioneers," "blank slate," and other documented conversations that are used for cultural and social erasure, to ameliorate any perceived guilt from the act of gentrifying.



Mobile Disruption Unit, on site at River and Rich construction site.

 "Frontier", a series of commercial signs marking the spot of the Sunshine Terrace high-rise demolition.