The day Detroit threatened to declare bankruptcy–with a population loss of over 50%, and with 18 to 20 billion debt declared by new accounting–this was the scene in the alley behind my studio in the Canfield Lofts, in the pleasant and prosperous midtown area. A friend commented, “Basquiat!”; I thought “Rauschenberg”; Smithson would declare it a “nonsite”–there is a certain aesthetic appeal to the image, certainly, partly due to the water drops on the window, from a recent heavy rain and high temperatures, creating painterly effects. Pink graffiti meets material overflow as sensory excess. As art, the image presents itself to the senses so we would all agree that the pleasure we would feel is certainly not due to its depicted content.
Entries tagged with Detroit
July 19, 2013
February 10, 2010
Tonight at MOCAD, San Francisco archive activist Rick Prelinger showed an hour’s worth of material from his vast collection of film images of Detroit from the first three quarters of the 20th century (earliest 1917; latest in the 70s). I attended, along with several hundred other people—the space was full to overflowing. The screening was open to audience participation, and Prelinger, after his opening statement, encouraged vocal responses.
This dynamic made for a unique occasion. To begin with, the range of Prelinger’s material was limited—indeed, its limitations made for a kind of interpretive framework in themselves. We saw clips of downtown and water transport (modernity); the auto industry (mode of production); suburbs (community) and family (reproduction); police work (power); and local landmarks that no longer exist (history). We did not see sufficient images of labor or the black community, as Prelinger noted, likely due to the distribution and use of home movies.
January 6, 2010