Monday, January 25, 2010

readings on public art

I just read this article on the role artists play in urban regeneration. No room to move is a pretty apt title, as it's basically a long list of the pitfalls that public and community engaged art projects face, and it doesn't leave you with much hope other than "it's difficult to know what to do in our current climate". Although it's disheartening, it's also good to be aware of these issues so that at the very least we aren't unknowingly aiding the marginalization of a group of people (maybe even ourselves). If anyone else reads this I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Also, Miwon Kwon's "One Place After Another" is another very critical view of site-specific art that really challenged my thinking about public art. Grant Kester's "Conversation Pieces" is a more positive take on it (and they riff on each other, which is kind of fun). They're all good, if and when you have the time.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Screening at MOCAD

This looks awesome! Maybe we could get a group visit together?

I guess this is as good a time as any to let you all know that I don't have a car and I often have to bum rides places, especially places like Detroit. If anyone is ever making the trip and would like some company, please let me know. I'm happy to pitch in for gas and I'm a relatively fun person to be around. We could visit places together, or each do our own thing and meet up later. I'm also thinking about getting a zipcar account for emergencies, so I can return the favor if that works out. Sincerely, Michael

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 7PM
MOCAD is proud to present
Films from Prelinger Archives: Lost Landscapes of Detroit
Admission: Free

All photos courtesy of Richard Prelinger, Prelinger Archives.

LOST LANDSCAPES OF DETROIT;an eclectic montage of rediscovered and rarely-seen archival film clips exhibiting life; cityscapes, labor and leisure from ‘vanishing Detroit’, as captured by amateurs, newsreel cameramen and industrial filmmakers from the 1920’s to the 1960’s. Lost Landscapes aims to offer Detroiters imagery of Detroit's past, free from any sense of nostalgia, in an attempt to provide subject for contemplation as the people of the city build towards a new future.

Unlike most film screenings, Lost Landscapes relies on audience participation for the soundtrack – interaction with the films is encouraged, as questions are shouted out, observations are shared and mysterious locations are identified.

“How we remember and record the past reveals much about how we address the future.” Points out archivist Rick Prelinger, who will be on hand to preface the screening with a brief talk on the value of ephemeral films, on the changing nature of historical memory, and what consequences will arise from the emerging massive matrix of personal records.

Prelinger began collecting ephemeral films -- advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur works -- in 1983. In 2002, his collection of over 200,000 items was acquired by the Library of Congress; many key films are available online at the Internet Archive. In 2004 Rick and spouse Megan opened the Prelinger Library in downtown San Francisco, which includes over 60,000 pieces of print ephemera, books, periodicals, maps and zines and is open to the public.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Temporary Art Communities in Detroit

Something I've been thinking about is the idea of locational identity and the formation of temporal artist communities. Detroit has a lot of these...

One such instance is 'Theater Bizzare'. This 'Theater' is actually a one night artistic "happening". It happens every year same place and around the same time in October.

Artists invented the community and create the happening, then they leave it.
Some of the set stays intact, some comes down.
They return again the next year to re-create the event.
Some artists stay on site and continue with their creative work.
I've met painters and sculptors who live in the houses that face what used to be the Detroit fairgrounds.

At the moment some of these thoughts are incomplete, but its something I'm enjoying mulling over.

What are created artist communities?
How does their locational identity form (or inform) the work they do?

More on Theater Bizarre (here)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Detroit resources/things of interest


The Boggs Center

The Boggs Center Blog

The Michigan Citizen -
Detroit based Sunday paper - Grace Lee Boggs writes for them often.
"The Michigan Citizen targets the state's African American and progressive minded community. From block club presidents to mayors, school board trustees to state legislators, activists and self-help advocates, The Michigan Citizen reaches those shaping the future of our communities."

TIME in Detroit


Ice House Detroit -
I'm curious to hear others thoughts about this project.
"Ice House Detroit is an architectural installation and social change project happening in Detroit this winter. One of 20,000 abandoned houses will be frozen in solid ice to reference contemporary urban conditions in the city and beyond. This project will happen in collaboration with several Detroit based environmental organizations."

Broken City Lab
Some friends from across the river...
"Broken City Lab an artist-led interdisciplinary creative research group that tactically disrupts and engages the city, its communities, and its infrastructures to reimagine the potential for action in the collapsing post-industrial city of Windsor, Ontario.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Picketers at Bushnell Congregation

Here's a picture I found through the Bentley Historical Museum's image base. This picture was taken in 1958 of picketers at Bushnell Congregational Church in Detroit.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Putting the Neighbor Back in the Hood!

MLK Celebration event this weekend. let me know if you'd like to join: