If you feel like life in New York is a constant battle against rent hikes, Coby Kennedy feels your pain. In response to the rapid gentrification and sky-high apartment prices that have engulfed areas the city over the past few years, the Brooklyn-based artist has created a series of post-apocalyptic weaponry made from street signs found around NYC. Called “In Service of a Villain,” the metal swords, shields and machetes imagine a distant future where chaos has taken over the streets and the focus is on survival.
The pieces in Kennedy’s arsenal are largely recognizable. Octagonal “STOP” signs have been scored and bent into shields and rectangular “NO PARKING” and street cleaning signs have been welded together, forming crude but deadly blades atop misshapen sword handles. Yellow signs once used to indicate school crossings can be still be made out as parts of shanks, mounts for makeshift coats of arms and machetes.
Using a metal grinder, Kennedy has sharpened green and white signs from familiar Brooklyn streets such as Nostrand Avenue into pointy swords, which could actually be wielded in battle. Kennedy chose specific street signs intentionally, not just for their ability to be made into sharp weapons, but to highlight historical areas in Brooklyn that have been losing their identity to gentrification. Areas like Bed-Stuy and Williamsburg were once affordable places to live, but have become gentrified, pushing out locals.
Kennedy’s series “In Service of a Villain” takes the idea of gentrification to the extreme, imagining a futuristic backlash, while also forcing us to think about the loss of cultural identity in many neighborhoods of New York.
Via Junk Culture