Great Things You Should know about in Detroit & Beyond

Just a copy & paste, but there’s too much to try to condense. Upcoming in Windsor and an opportunity for artists and food lovers from friends…

Please let m know if there’s anything I can do to assist you with editorial coverage and/or attendance (very affordable $5 rates are available — just ask!) For tickets and information:

For more info, watch this video:


Friday, August 17, 2012

6:30 p.m. – Opening at Art Effect (420 E. Fisher Fwy., Detroit, MI 48207;

7 p.m. – Rogue HAA Panel: Art and Development in Detroit “Art, the Avant-garde and the Realities of Resurrecting an America City” with Philip Lauri (Detroit Lives!), Mike Han (Street Culture Mash), Jela Ellefson (Eastern Market) and Oya Amakisi (film/us social forum) (

9 p.m. – Detroit Performances including: Monica Blaire, Hardcore Detroit (, Ryan Meyers-Johnson, Invincible (

Saturday, August 18, 2012

9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Community Tour Tracks (three options)

Track A – Southwest Detroit: Art Impacting a Neighborhood. Matrix (, The Alley Project (

Track B – The Urban Network: Art Impacting the Justice System (5740 Grand River Detroit, MI 48208). Yusef Shakur (, Prison Creative Arts (, 4TheatrSake (

Track C – College for Creative Studies: Art Impacting Redevelopment. Bus tour led by Mikel Bresee, Director of CAP/CPAD and Vince Carducci, Assistant Dean/author (

12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch (bring cash)

Track A – In Mexican Town

Track B – The Urban Network

Track C – WSU reVITALunch (Pine and Huron Streets, Detroit, MI 48216)

Saturday, August 18, 2012 (continued)

2 – 3:30 p.m. – Art Impacting Youth Workshops
Detroit Summer Workshop (
Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit (

3:45 – 4:45 p.m. – National Plenary

5:30 – 7 p.m. – Detroit Soup project-funding dinner (2051 Rosa Parks Blvd, Detroit, MI 48216). (

7:30 p.m. – The Hinterlands with Design 99: (3346 Lawley St. Detroit, MI 48212) ( and (

9:30 p.m. – African World Festival at the Charles Wright Museum (315 East Warren Avenue, Detroit 48201) (

Sunday August 19, 2012

9 – 10 a.m. – Invincible with Complex Movements

10 – 10:30 a.m. – Brunch provided at the Hilberry Theater (Cass Avenue Detroit, MI 48201)

10:30 a.m. – noon – Town Hall Discussion “How do you know the work is having impact?”

noon – 12:30 p.m. – Closing

The Design Studio has extended their commission for an artist/culinary team interested in designing a week-long open Public Kitchen in September or October.  The new deadline for applications is August 16th.

The commissioned team will get:

  • $4,000 commission, plus $1000 budget
  • A space near Uphams Corner for their installation of the Public Kitchen
  • A built brick stove from Bread Oven
  • Free fruits and vegtables from Fair Foods

Interested? Learn more about the Public Kitchen and the art commission here.

Detroit Je T’aime – a new interactive documentary

Lafayette Coney Island from Detroit je t’aime on Vimeo.

Nora Mandray (director/producer) and Hélène Bienvenu (co-producer) are part of a growing group of people who believe that Detroit, MI, is a laboratory for the city of tomorrow. They’re a duo of French filmmakers/journalists, and they’ve been working for over a year on an interactive documentary project supported by the French Film Institute. DETROIT JE T’AIME tells the story of the DIY spirit that’s leading the Motor City’s transition from the assembly line into a new collaborative economy.

DETROIT JE T’AIME is an interactive documentary that weaves together three stories of com- munity-building in the post-industrial era. It follows a group of female mechanics, an urban farmer and an activist hacker who are each working to transform Detroit into a sustainable city through small-scale DIY projects.

Here’s the interactive part:

* DETROIT JE T’AIME will be broadcasted on a website made up of a series of web pages or “screens.” Each screen will feature a video.

* When you decide you’re finished with a page, you’ll click on the next one. You’ll be taken through the documentary at your own pace.

* At anytime, a “DIY toolbox” will be available in the corner of the screen. The “DIY Toolbox” will adapt itself to the story: guidelines and tools will suggest you to start similar projects depending on what’s happening on the screen (be it a community garden, basic bike repairs, or an LED light project.)

* You’ll be able to share ideas from the film with your friends across social networks.

* Through each screen/video, you’ll have access to a different Detroit neighborhood — historic background will be provided through datavisualization, interviews and/or archival footage.

There’s also a Kickstarter page (they’re looking for funding until the end of July 2012).

And, on the short video above:

Detroit and Lafayette Coney Island has the best coney hot dogs in the world (so say Detroiters). The chili, mustard and onion topped super fast treat is a Detroit staple that simply can’t be argued with. Whether occasional delights on the way to a Red Wings, Tigers’, Lions’ game or daily food, the experience is pure Detroit. The classic style of the small Downtown space recants the Motor City glory days, the customers joke with the Yemeni cooks and the waiters do magic tricks… Mind you it’s hot!

Rethinking the Role & Site of Social Services: Mike Kelley’s Suburban Home at MOCAD

Image via Artlog

Michelle and I visited this project when it first appeared at MOCAD back in 2010, and it’s incredible to see the next phase of this, just announced as a massive new addition to the project in Detroit that seems possibly not unlike Project Row Houses, but with a distinct Detroit feel.

From the article on Curbed:

The installation will be a replica of Kelley’s childhood home in the suburbs which will be used to provide social services to Detroit residents. Kelley himself oversaw the first stage of the project in 2010, when a mobile-home version of the suburban dwelling made a maiden voyage from downtown Detroit to visit the original Kelley home in the suburbs. The video of this, completed just before he died, is what premiered at the Whitney Biennial yesterday. Kelley’s idea was to create a symbolic reversal of the white flight that occurred in Detroit in the 1960s.

From the NYTimes article:

It will function nothing like a traditional museum or gallery and will show none of Mr. Kelley’s work, at his own insistence. The mobile-home part will remain detachable and will sometimes take its leave of the rest and journey through Detroit. The home as a whole will operate as an unconventional community service office, providing things like haircuts, social services, meeting space and a place to hold barbecues and perhaps for the homeless to pick up mail. “We’re thinking that our education staff will actually move out to the homestead and work from there,” said Marsha Miro, the acting director of the contemporary art museum.

It’s really curious to think about a long-term project like this being launched by an artist and carried forward (posthumously) by a museum, not to mention the complications of the politics of the architecture itself. I’m not sure what it will mean for the community immediately surrounding MOCAD, but it’s an incredible example to point to in terms of how we might rethink a number of institutions that provide social services.


Another week, another instalment of In Store by Daragh Sankey. Having these weekly videos is so great and it’s amazing to look back on all of this. So, here’s the story this week:

This week, we follow Thea Jones over the Ambassador Bridge to Detroit.

Thea had recently done a research paper about Detroit. I’m pretty sure she was drawn to the Windsor residency for the opportunity it presented to visit what has become the poster child of broken post-industrial cities. I also was fascinated by Detroit; I’m sure many of us are. Toronto, where I’m from, is sort of the opposite: a thriving, very expensive downtown, where successful information & service industries have replaced industry.

This was in contrast to Windsor residents who of course, being right across the river, are pretty used to Detroit. Its ruins are much less exotic to them. So don’t roll your eyes at the ruin porn, Windsor pals! The film doesn’t really stay there; the field trip to Heidelberg is a trip to a whole other side of Detroit-the-symbol.

Keep your eyes here:

How to Forget the Border Completely, continued: 707PX

Following up on our How to Forget the Border Completely project from last year, collaborator Tom Provost continues to work on ideas around pedestrian border crossings (which you can read all about in the HFBC book!)

Photos and text by Tom Provost

In the summer of 2011, I was in dialogue with Broken City Lab about the idea of forgetting the border… completely! We thought about what could be done at the architectural scale to overcome the enormous divide between Windsor and Detroit. We thought about the possibility of prioritizing pedestrians over industry. We also considered what kind of architectonic could close the gap between the super-human-scale and the individual – a post-industrial dilemma easily visible from the river’s edge. The result was 707PX.

707PX is a speculative project engaging the border cities of Windsor and Detroit in a new entanglement. The geopolitical division acts as an indicator only, a naïve datum. The architecture examines the surreal condition of complete pedestrian dominance with form as an end goal of the process. Ultimately, it is the process that dominates to form a surreal pedestrian condition along the river. The concept became physical after pursuing the connection of past, present, and future incarnations of the river. It began with a map from 1796 that was meticulously traced along both edges, reifying what has now been striated. These new edges were examined as a whole and then as a part. By repeatedly scaling and the slicing them into multiple sections, it quickly revealed an allegiance to an old-world geographic division native to its very own history – the French ribbon farm. The ribbon farms are noticeable on the map from 1796 as they indicate human presence. They are cordoned off plots, extending narrowly and perpendicular to the river. By alluding back to this system, the architecture can interfere with the modern schema at the human scale.

The multiple collections of river’s edge sections are then distributed evenly on their respective sides, in sequential order. The sequence creates tactility close to rippling, with a rhythm clearly visible on both sides. With the border as a datum, both sides dialogue and seesaw at various moments, creating subito and crescendo. The finale occurs when the sequence, thought of as attached to a string, is lifted and becomes conformed to the unique, precise, and mathematical geopolitical division. It should be noted that the 1796 map omits division. The river appears as a singular moving force between bodies of and is left graphically plain. The form of 707PX reifies the singularity of the river by adjoining both cities and entertaining a pedestrian agenda. This investigation answers the question of how one is to forget the border while simultaneously subverting its presence.

Initiate! Open Frameworks Detroit

I’ll be presenting Broken City Lab at:
Initiate! Technology + Collaboration + Community + Change
Saturday, 2/25, 5-9:30 PM
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
4454 Woodward Ave Detroit MI, 48201

Looking forward to a great discussion on creative uses of primarily open source technology and open source approaches to creating art and social change with a bunch of awesome talented people.

Hope to see you there!

Detroit Emergent Futures Lab

I had to post this so that we could collectively remember to follow up on this in the spring!

Opening Spring 2012 @ 2448 Market Street 

Detroit Emergent Futures Lab: A Learning Kitchen in The Eastern Market 

DEFL will be a year-round art and food lab + workshop, teaching and experimenting with a range of communities in Detroit, centered in the Eastern Market. We will work with local neighborhoods, schools and continuing education communities to learn cooking techniques, share stories about food and families, publish books, and work with the gardeners and farmers of urban Detroit. The school will also feature an annual Summer Intensive located in Detroit, pairing Graduate and scholars from around the world with Detroit communities. The home space will be centered in a professional kitchen – and restaurant, all meals will be prepared onsite sourced from the Eastern Market and urban gardens. DEFL will have a publishing partner, Signal-Return Press, for rapid production of books, research and special projects.

Building an axis between business, the academy, art, and culture, the Detroit Emergent Futures Lab will be a responsive and community-engaged institution. Nimble in its movements and fluid in its boundaries between business and art, urbanism and civic engagement, Detroit Emergent Futures Lab will support partners, participants, students and faculty working in hybrid forms in downtown Detroit.

More information here: http://www.leonjohnson

Also, on Thursday night they’re hosting a bit of an information session, at Cost Plus Wines from 6.00 – 7.30pm. So, if you’re not already heading to the AGW/SOVA talk, “Is it a Hybrid Practice?”, then consider heading across the border to find out more about this and tell us all about it.

[via an email from Etienne Turpin]

Detroit Soup

Hey everyone! Anyone aware of Detroit Soup? It’s a micro-grant project, and it’s happening tonight. For 5$ you get delicious food, a vote, and a chance to meet awesome new people. It’s just a 5 minute drive from the bridge. Be there!

Windsor-Detroit Border Crossing Micro Grant

Broken City Lab is launching a new micro-grant program and we need you to apply.

As a part of our upcoming publication, How to Forget the Border Completely, The Windsor-Detroit Border Crossing Micro Grant gives you the opportunity to cross the Windsor-Detroit border.  We’re looking for a variety of experiences gained from crossing the border, so you can cross for whatever reason you’d like.

We want people to participate in activities that they would do if there wasn’t a border, and we want all types of people to apply. We want people to get involved who don’t cross often, who do cross often, or who have never crossed before.

The grant is offered on a first come, first serve basis, and comes in the form of a roundtrip tunnel bus ticket.

So, if you can get to the Detroit-Windsor border, and you’re interested in participating, fill out the Cross-Border Micro Grant Application below!

Continue reading “Windsor-Detroit Border Crossing Micro Grant”

Working at & on (forgetting) the Border, Next Week is Show & Tell

Meeting outside is the greatest. There’s talk of building some kind of mobile table / bistro to make this possible in other locations, but I suppose that’s further down on the to-do list.

For now, we’re immersed in bringing together research and inventions around our How to Forget the Border Completely project to pull into a publication.

Above, we brought lots of reference material on Friday night.

Continue reading “Working at & on (forgetting) the Border, Next Week is Show & Tell”