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Occupy what?

Posted on November 12, 2011

Camille traveled to Occupy SF with the House Manager from her group home. Once on site, Camille said she sat there (on the street) protesting with the others because of her desire for the “high price to go down, so I won’t be anxious,” and because, “I don’t want to pay this much for rent.”

As soon as I mentioned the Occupy Movement to Camille, she asked me, “Occupy what?  What are we occupying? What does ‘occupy’ mean?,” questions which at first may seem obvious, but in actuality, refer to concepts that are not easily understood or expressed verbally. The sign Camille carried said, “I’m part of the 99% of America.” When asked what that meant to her, Camille replied, “It means, to make the economy better.” I asked Camille what “making the economy better,” means to her on a personal level, and she explained  that her hope is for more people to have jobs so that they “can have more money to buy my artwork so my monthly paychecks will be higher and I could do more things.”



Within this statement, Camille expresses the cyclical nature of the economy, as a structural system that gives individuals the ability to purchase goods that in turn supplement the paycheck of those who produce the goods. As an artist, Camille’s paycheck is dependent upon the financial flexibility others have to purchase her product; a flexibility that many, especially in this current economic situation, do not have the luxury of doing. “We want action, not just words on paper,” Camille exclaims.

As a working female artist with a disability, Camille occupies an interesting space at the intersection of identities. “The high prices are making me have a rough time so I want to scream about them,” Camille tells me as she begins to tell me of her old home on Randall Street, whose high price eventually led to her to move out. 

Camille both articulates and visually renders uncertainty, anxiety, and doubt she feels about herself and her surroundings. Her personal feelings of instability and uncertainty are experienced by everyone, especially in relation to the sentiments expressed within the Occupy Movement of discontent and disillusionment with the current economic and political systems within the United States.

Camille urges us all to speak out about our experience and to join the Occupy Movement in some capacity: “Everyone crosses their eyes about it. Please have everybody complain so we can have the high prices go lower. I want to protest again."

To learn hear more of Camille and her opinions, check out her bio or watch her one-minute video.

Submitted by Alex Fine, Oberlin College intern.


OccupySF by Camille Holvoet © 2011 Creativity Explored; Self Portrait by Camille Holvoet © 2007 Creativity Explored.

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