Organizing small scale social events to reach to an understanding about the ways neighborhoods have been affected by the invisible punishing machine, (CNS’ “science-fictional” way of defining the prison industrial complex and the insidious effect of mass incarceration on society) and documenting their anti-prison activism in analytical performative writing, photographs and other media; CNS is developing a two-part research project (Journey to Refuge) that explores “claiming one’s state of being and becoming." Within the project they expect to touch on topics such as mechanisms of communications, patterns of societal organization, ideas of identities, trust and psychological architecture and environments.
In his project, Lost Lots, Vázquez is researching ways that the “physical space of the city, its organization and quality… [are] mechanisms of integration.” He considers the open, public spaces- starting with the stoop, sidewalks and streets of the city- as places that both "reinforce and promote existing and new social agreements; where meetings between different people take place, where identities emerge, and where a sense of belonging is fostered.” Traditionally appreciated in terms of their functionality, physical comforts and aesthetic value, he sees buildings as an “urban fabric” that form “places of perception. Using topographical maps he created and conducting field surveys, interviews and workshops, Vázquez hopes to answer questions about the act of claiming place in the Latino community; How should we claim an area? What is our sense of belonging? He plans to distill the information gathered from his research into drawings and graphs which the public and he can use to determine the best forms of constructive interventions.
For the duration of the project, CNS and Vázquez will post monthly reports on the Claiming Places exhibition cycle website (claimingplaces.blogspot.com) that will be consolidated into a full, documented, printed report. They will also independently record their progress and communicate directly with the public through a separate website, claimingplaceslab.org.