Calzona Coming Soon asks tough questions about what happens when there are competing or misleading visions for a piece of land, which in this case is that of an antiquated subdivision.
When land is sold, based on false promises at best or fraudulently at worst, as in the case of Calzona, what is there to preserve? Should failures of U.S. real-estate law be preserved, curated, and presented critically as the Calzona Collective seeks to do? Or should the land fulfill the promises with which it was originally subdivided and sold?
Calzona Coming Soon takes the physical form of a banner advertising the development of buildings resembling a downtown strip mall, photoshopped and superimposed over a photograph of present-day Calzona. It plays on tropes of gentrification from examples such as Chicago and San Diego. The banner is meant to be displayed onsite to create a stark contrast between the real and envisioned versions of Calzona.
The photocollage on the banner is pieced together from several source images in a way that purposely uses common mistakes of photoeditting, namely multiple vanishing points and light sources, to communicate the distorted nature of the visions that are used to sell land. The image in context, along with the viewer’s perception that someone cares enough about Calzona to display a vision for it, draws attention to the original vision for the land, and how far it is from reality.
However, if one were to “revitalize” Calzona, it would be covering up a historic failure of U.S. policy, in a way gentrifying it. Calzona may a limited community of permanent residents in Calzona, but its fraudulent history is what makes it Calzona.