In her project My Very Own Porch on Ipanema Corner, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs paid homage and gave voice to the neighborhood where she has lived since childhood – Harlem. Bringing her artistic sensibilities as a writer, vocalist, and sound artist to this work, LaTasha explored the social ecosystem of her bustling block corner, which is marked by the Ipanema Laundromat, through printed ephemera and video. Combining video documentary and oral history collection techniques, LaTasha created a platform for her longtime neighbors to share their varying perspectives on the changing face of Harlem. Her residency culminated with the beginnings of a video documentary about her neighborhood and a chapbook of collected prose from her neighbors’ musings about their community.
Let me tell me this. My corner first appeared
in a James Bond movie in 1973.
Second Cannan Baptist Church
is still here
and the welfare hotel next door turned into a hostel for foreign exchange.
At this corner, the Muslims fry chicken and pizza;
sell low-grade donuts in the mornings.
When Trini was killed, the cops harassed the Domino players.
Now the chess player resume all day
buy their coffees and two pieces.
The skateboarders who polish this miniscule park called
The Triangle have never caused an accident.
Bob’s makeshift newspaper stand of cinderblock
was torn down in the 80s’. He continues to sell papers,
and break large bills for the customers
who wash their clothes in Ipanema,
and Maria, the owner, cooks for everyone;
even those who frolic outside the liquor store beside her;
even Archibald, who sitting in a broken
beach chair, scatters his records and books
along the street as if he owned this very corner.