With his new project Ekene Ijeoma addresses New York City’s “tale of two cities” and tries to expand the relationships between housing and accessibility and wage and affordability in the city.
Ekene Ijeoma’s new interactive installation Wage Island – presented at Measure at Storefront for Art and Architecture in SoHo NYC – expands New York City’s “tale of two cities” by revealing the geographies of access throughout the city based on housing costs and wages.
The project is a three-dimensional map of the city where elevations are based on median monthly housing costs from $271 to $4001. At the base is the full city where an hourly wage of $77 is needed for monthly housing costs of $4001. At the peaks are only parts of the city where an hourly wage of $8.75 is needed for monthly housing costs of $271.
The map is submerged in water showing the peaks of NYC as islands of access for minimum wage. There’s a button which when pressed the wages slowly increase showing the area of the islands growing towards the base. When the button is released the wages slowly decrease showing the area of the islands shrinking towards the peaks. There’s also an LCD display which shows the wages and areas.
Wage Islands explores the poetic sides of data to bring out a visceral understanding of housing and wage gaps in New York City. It hopes to expand the relationships between housing and accessibility and wages and affordability in New York City.