Art Installation Opening: Leslie Dreyer “Reclaim Disrupt”



On Thursday, November 13, we were thrilled to host the art installation opening for Reclaim Disrupt, a performance project designed and implemented by interdisciplinary artist and activist Leslie Dreyer. To tackle issues surrounding the Bay area housing crisis, Leslie visited demolition sites to collect bricks, which she etched with the stories of those who have faced eviction in the Bay. She then sold these bricks from a vendor cart at Tech Crunch’s Disrupt conference in San Francisco on September 10, 2014. Clad in server attire but vending quite unusual fare, she invited passersby to consider other potential meanings of “disrupt.” Since the bricks took an hour each for Leslie to make, she chose to sell the bricks at a variable price that shifted based on the purchaser’s hourly wages, net wealth, and role in displacement. For example, a minimum wage worker with few assets could buy a brick for $10.74. Mark Zuckerberg, on the other hand, would have had to pay $1.6 million (his estimated hourly wage earnings). Leslie staged Reclaim Disrupt once again at Plaza 16’s No Monster in the Mission march and festival for affordable housing. Unlike at Tech Crunch, more than half the bricks sold in this context as the audience were personally moved by their own experiences being reproduced in art. A portion of Leslie’s profits go towards affordable housing the Bay area. At the BCNM installation, you can see the bricks Leslie sells, along with the cart, and a video of the conversations she had at Tech Crunch’s Disrupt and the No Monster in the Mission march.

Check out photos from the opening below!


In this new performative intervention project, artist Leslie Dreyer delves into the causes and ramifications of San Francisco’s hyper gentrification, a phenomenon that is currently spreading throughout the greater Bay Area.

This fall, Leslie launched the project at Tech Crunch’s Disrupt conference, clad in server attire but vending quite unusual fare — bricks from a San Francisco demolition site. Each brick was etched with stories of individuals or establishments displaced during the current tech boom or with visions for a city in which people, regardless of race/class/gender, are able to live and participate.

By inviting viewers to consider other meanings of “disrupt”, the tech industry’s biggest buzzword, Leslie is attempting to redirect the conversation to those whose lives and livelihoods are being destroyed by “disruptive innovation.” The ongoing project will resurface at different locations around the Bay and its growing documentation and archive of collected stories will be on display at the Berkeley Center for New Media Commons.

Leslie is an MFA candidate in Art Practice at UC Berkeley. She is an interdisciplinary artist and organizer who creates sculptural works, installations and performance/interventions from within a movement demanding a right to the city and an end to the commodification of our public and private lives.