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THE LAB (for installation + performance art) . 501 Lexington Avenue New York, NY. 10017

Diaspora USA - An installation by Anne Katrine Senstad. Curated by Koan Jeff Baysa and Matt Semler. May 8 – 29th 2009

Diaspora USA - Senstad’s installation Diaspora USA Chapter is based on the remains of a hurricane Katrina damaged shotgun cottage in New Orleans. The original derelict cottage is the home of Senstad’s site-specific installation The Light House at KK Projects, curated by Koan Jeff Baysa 2007/08, and the source for the video piece, Light Writes Always in Plural – Section Three, 2009. The video trilogy Light Writes Always in Plural – Section One, Two and Three is projected onto a cardboard box a suitcase and the wall in the space. "The items used for the installation are arranged from memory of the remains of that particular cottage, and I have collected objects and paraphernalia from local sources that recreate a social/economic status of the displaced inhabitants, unable to return”, says Senstad. The walls serve as the exterior of the cottage with a floodwater line and spray painted inspection signature that still remains in New Orleans to this day. TFW (which stands for Task Force Wildcat – a national Guard Unit) with indications of date of inspection, number of dead people found in house, number of dead people removed from the house, and name of agency that performed the inspection.The 4 ft office lights are arranged in a similar pattern as in the video and original installation. The objective for reference to the original installation is based on aesthetic documentation and re-use of materials as a source for this new installation.

Hurricane Katrina –August 29th 2005 - As the center of Katrina passed east of New Orleans on August 29, 2005. Though the most severe portion of Katrina missed the city, hitting nearby St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes, the storm surge caused more than 50 breaches in drainage canal levees and also in navigational canal levees and precipitated the worst engineering disaster in the history of the United States. By August 31, 2005, eighty percent of New Orleans was flooded, with some parts under 15 feet (4.5 m) of water. Most of the city's levees designed and built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers broke, including the 17th Street Canal levee, the Industrial Canal levee, and the London Avenue Canal floodwall. Ninety percent of the residents of southeast Louisiana were evacuated. Despite this, many remained (mainly the elderly and poor). The Louisiana Superdome was used as a designated "refuge of last resort" for those who remained in the city, and proved to be disastrous. Many who remained in their homes had to swim for their lives, wade through deep water, or remain trapped in their attics or on their rooftops. Dead bodies floating were a common sight. Approximately 1.5 million people aged 16 years and older left their residences in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama because of Hurricane Katrina. Those who have returned to their homes differ markedly from those who have not in terms of demographic characteristics, labor force status, and income.

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