At the end of October, Juxtapoz Magazine sent a couple artists to Detroit, MI to work with Powerhouse to fix up the neighborhoods, creating a new community in a city with one of the highest poverty percentages and violent crime rates. Read about everything here: http://www.juxtapoz.com/Juxtapoz+Live+in+Detroit/
It was my first time in Detroit and I loved it and it exceeded my expectations. It's a dying, collapsing city that's like a ghost town in many ways, but for an artist or any creative person, there's also this wonderful sense of expansive opportunity that I haven't felt in any other US city. In that sense, it is very much alive and I'm glad to have given Detroit what we made there in two weeks and left behind. In return, we gained new friendships and inspiration and brought that back with us to share. A neighbor told Mitch from Powerhouse that he was thinking about abandoning his house, but after seeing new life in the neighborhood, decided to stay. If that doesn't speak for the impact of art and how just even one individual being touched, deeply matters, I'm not sure what else can.
Thank you http://www.monicacanilao.com/, Rich Coleman, Dark Dark Dark, Die Antwoord, Harrison, Kevin Hayes, Jason Jaworski, Mitch and Gina, Kerstin Niemann, pitbulls, RETNA, Chris Ridell, Secret Santa Claus, Tod Seelie, stray neighborhood cats, Swoon, Trim and Trash, Ben Wolf, everyone who came to the in progress opening and the rest of Detroit....
The house I picked was previously worked on by a group of various architects. I layered upon some of their work like a sculptural collage. Their work was more structured and minimal and I hoped to create a nice contrast and a warmer environment by making a miniature neighborhood within a neighborhood with lots of recycled scrap materials. The hanging white cut out that casts a shadow above the houses was part of a much larger piece that was covering the bottom of a stairway. I was going to rip the whole thing off, but then decided to leave it hanging and carve out a drawing from it. There's a theme of a flood through the installation; fabric flows out from the house like water and the houses sit on waves, thus the name of the piece is 'The Flood House.' Ironically in the middle of making my installation, I found out that the house leaks and I had a couple nights of scrambling for buckets, laying towels around and covering things with plastic tarps. There are long term plans to make the outside of this house as part of a neighborhood skate park. For now, I wanted 'The Flood House' to be like a time capsule library. People are invited to send mail to this house, giving it some new life and connection to others. What would you have done to fix up this house? Your letters most likely won't be responded to or opened immediately, thus the time capsule element.
Send your letters, drawings, confessions to:
13178 Moran Street
Detroit, MI 48212
Here are some photos by Tod Seelie. Please check out his other photos too. They're beautiful.
flood of tears
seahorses with open arms. their hair is made from scraps of paper salvaged from a place that we broke into one night as we were driving and the road just ended without warning and left us at a dead end in front of a boarded up apartment building. i think they are accounting documents from 1973.
oversized fake pencils made with paint and giant nails. i don't know who would need a really giant nail. looked like a stake for pitching tents or stabbing someone or something.
homage to the black squirrels i saw in detroit. i thought squirrels were only brown.
downstairs closet. i made a string 'spider web' with paper leaves.
upstairs window. paper cut out and wheat paste.
last morning quick shot before heading to the airport. horrible. exhausted. cold. only 2 hours of sleep. only pic i have of the outside of house.
a mystery person stapled this to the outside of my house and where ben wolf's installation starts. i thought it was monica and harrison, but ben told me he thinks he saw a man that looked like santa claus doing it... i wonder!
i found this on the front porch of the house i was staying at, the morning i was leaving. mystery! who did this and how did they know i love it? it was such a beautiful, magical surprise. :) i shoved them into my carry on bag and now they're on my studio shelf....