Sphinxxx: The Sound of Windsor by Chris Flanagan

Sphinxxx - The Sound of Windsor (2013)

Sphinxxx: The Sound of Windsor by Chris Flanagan

Exhibition on view from December 5th to 30th – Opening Reception on Thursday, December 5th at 7pm – CIVIC Space (411 Pelissier Street, Windsor)

Chris Flanagan has created a site-specific installation work based on Windsor’s musical history and hypothetical stories based on the city’s relationship with Detroit and waves of migration. He will be presenting this work (artifacts, sound clips, and process documentation) at CIVIC Space and around the city.

Please join us on Thursday, December 5th at 7pm for an opening reception and to explore the artifacts Chris has uncovered. The artist will be present and is looking forward to discussing Windsor / Detroit’s musical histories. If you’re unable to make it to the opening, the exhibition will be up in CIVIC Space until the end of December.

Chris Flanagan is a Toronto-based installation artist. His work is concerned with music, secret societies and fabricated historical narratives. He has exhibited widely in public galleries across Australia and Canada.

For more information, please visit: www.chrisflanaganart.com


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!

Keynotes Announced for Homework!

We are very pleased to announce our Keynote Speakers for Homework: Infrastructures & Collaboration in Social Practices!

Gregory Sholette, Marisa Jahn, and Temporary Services (represented by Salem Collo-Julin) will join us on October 21 and 22, 2011 to deliver a keynote panel and round-table discussions.

There’s still time to register — and it’s free!

HOMEWORK: Infrastructures & Collaboration in Social Practices is four-day residency, two-day conference, and collaboratively-written publication aimed at generating conversation around the following:

  • alternative infrastructures,
  • radical collaboration,
  • social practice,
  • art implicated in social change,
  • neighbourhood-level activities,
  • city-wide imaginations,
  • site-specific curiosities,
  • tactical resistance,
  • new models for art education and research.

Facilitated by Broken City LabHOMEWORK calls on artists, scholars, writers, thinkers, and doers interested in any of the above to join us in Windsor, Ontario on October 21 and October 22, 2011.

Gregory Sholette is a New York-based artist, writer, and founding member of Political Art Documentation/Distribution (PAD/D: 1980-1988), and REPOhistory (1989-2000). A graduate of The Cooper Union (BFA 1979), The University of California, San Diego (MFA 1995), and the Whitney Independent Studies Program in Critical Theory, his recent publications include Dark Matter: Art and Politics in an Age of Enterprise Culture (Pluto Press, 2011); Collectivism After Modernism: The Art of Social Imagination after 1945 (with Blake Stimson for University of Minnesota, 2007); and The Interventionists: A Users Manual for the Creative Disruption of Everyday Life (with Nato Thompson for MassMoCA/MIT Press, 2004, 2006, 2008), as well as a special issue of the journal Third Text co-edited with theorist Gene Ray on the theme “Whither Tactical Media.” Sholette recently completed the installation “Mole Light: God is Truth, Light his Shadow” for Plato’s Cave, Brooklyn, New York, and the collaborative project Imaginary Archive at Enjoy Public Art Gallery in Wellington New Zealand, and is currently working on an installation for the Queens Museum of Art, and the Tulca Arts Festival in Galway, Ireland. He is an Assistant Professor of Sculpture at Queens College: City University of New York (CUNY), has taught classes at Harvard, The Cooper Union, and Colgate University, and teaches an annual seminar in theory and social practice for the CCC post-graduate research program at Geneva University of Art and Design.


The editor of “Byproduct: On the Excess of Embedded Art Practices,”, Marisa Jahn is an artist, writer, and community organizer embedded in various social and economic justice groups since 2008. Her work has been presented at venues such as the MIT Museum, The Power Plant (Toronto), ICA Philadelphia, The National Fine Art Museum of Taiwan, New Museum (NYC), ISEA, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Boston Museum of Science, and more. A graduate of MIT and an artist in residence at MIT’s Media Lab, Jahn has been recognized as a leading educator by UNESCO and has been a CEC Artslink cultural fellow in Tajikistan, Estonia, and Russia. Her work has been written about in media such as The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Clamor, Punk Planet, Art in America, and Discovery Channel. In 2009, she co-founded REV-, an organization dedicated to socially-engaged art, design, and pedagogy; she is currently the Deputy Director at People’s Production House, a journalism training and production institute that works with low-wage workers, immigrants, and teens to produce groundbreaking news that has been seen and heard on BBC, ABC, PBS Newshour, Mother Jones, The Nation Magazine, The New York Times, and more.


Temporary Services is a group of three people: Brett Bloom (based in Copenhagen), Marc Fischer (based in Chicago), and Salem Collo-Julin (based in Philadelphia). They collaborate on producing projects, publications, events, and exhibitions. Making a distinction between art practice and other creative human endeavors is irrelevant to Temporary Services.

The group started as a storefront arts and events space in a working class neighborhood in Chicago in 1998. Since then, Temporary Services has been responsible for the publication of over 91 books and booklets (including 2003’s Prisoners’ Inventions and 2008’s Public Phenomena), and have created many projects in public and shared spaces, in spaces often dedicated to art and spaces often used for other things, and on the internet. Most recently, they participated in an exhibition on the Lower East Side organized by Creative Time. The members of Temporary Services founded Half Letter Press in 2008 as a experimental web store and publishing imprint in order to help support themselves and champion the work of others.

Salem Collo-Julin is a Chicago native. In addition to her work with Temporary Services, she writes, edits, and performs. She is a co-founder of The Free Store Chicago.


Homework: Infrastructures & Collaboration in Social Practices is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council, the University of Windsor’s School of Visual Arts, and our community partner the Art Gallery of Windsor.

Required Reading: A Users Guide to Demanding the Impossible

A great downloaded book/PDF is available over at Half Letter Press. A Users Guide to Demanding the Impossible by the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination presents a very accessible and readable overview and introduction to the history of art+activism based practices.

Well worth the half-hour or so that it will take to read through it.

The ending, which will particularly resonate with Danielle, I’m sure:

Creative resistance is not simply about designing glitzy visual stunts that the media will pick up on, it’s a lot more than that, it’s about making things that work, fashioning situations that both disrupt the mechanisms of power and show us our own power, our own potential to connect and create. The beauty is in its efficient use, and nothing is more beautiful than winning.

via Half Letter Press

Let’s Colour Project


It’s called the Let’s Colour Project.

Ok, it’s an advertisement for a paint company, and  it strikes me as being a pretty bad idea (in a long-term perspective, I kind of cringe when I see brick buildings painted here in Windsor). Inevitably, a bit history is being completely lost by painting over these walls.

However, the video is stunning and if for a moment we can forget the parts of it that make this a possibly poor long-term choice,  it does get my imagination going thinking about how we could repaint blocks of concrete in this city.

Danielle pointed this out to me.

Sing to the Streets

The details: Saturday, March 20th at 3pm, meet at the corner of University and Pelissier.

As part of the Broken City Lab: Save the City project, and to better understand the city and its rich and failed history, Broken City Lab researchers will invite the community to learn the Francophone history of Windsor through a collective performance and storytelling of traditional French Folk Songs native to the Detroit River region on Saturday, March 20th at 3pm.

Led by Dr Marcel Beneteau, a professor in the Department of Folklore and Ethnology at the University of Sudbury, participants will meet at University Avenue and Pelissier Street to take part in a walking oral history tour and performance, which will stop at the streets along Riverside Drive named after Windsor’s French settlers such as Goyeau, Langlois, Marentette, Louis, Parent and Pierre.

The retelling of the brief oral history at each street will be followed by a collective open performance of the French Folk song led by the local Francophone musician. Video and audio documentation of the performances will subsequently be made available on the Broken City Lab / Save the City website.

Broken City Lab: Save the City is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.

Listen to the City: Discovering the Histories of Windsor through Conversation

Sunday night was the first event of our Save the City project: Listen to the City, and it was incredible!!! We had an amazingly generous crowd of old friends and new faces come out to share their stories of Windsor with us and we recorded close to 8 hours of their hopes, concerns, and personal histories of the city.

We’ll be going through all of this material over the next little while to turn it into an audio documentary that we’ll distribute online, hopefully on some local airwaves, and also through a contribution of the final work to the Windsor Archives. We’re hoping that this documentary will serve as a marker in time that will have captured a very specific kind of conversation happening right now, and maybe happening for the first time. It’s going to be something very special.

We want to thank everyone who came out and participated — this literally could not have been possible without you! There’s a number of photos and some overview of the discussions after the jump of what was our absolute most favourite night of the year so far.

Continue reading “Listen to the City: Discovering the Histories of Windsor through Conversation”

Solutions in Deep Imagination

The Golden Institute for Energy in Colorado by Sascha Pohflepp

Sascha Pohflepp imagined a future predicated on the re-election of Jimmy Carter in 1980. In this future, there exists a think tank called, “The Golden Institute for Energy” based in Golden, Colarado, which imagines and invents new technologies to make the US the most energy-rich nation on the planet.

Capturing lightning, stealing back energy from off-ramps, and weather modification balloons are all imagined as feasible energy-generating technologies. The institute, or rather the idea of the institute, becomes a vehicle for creative and critical thought and invention, and it is more about that idea than the computer-generated images, scale models, or fake corporate videos that make Pohflepp’s project so interesting.

Rewriting and re-imagining something as huge as a national energy policy could certainly appear reckless or hopeless, but it should instead be read as hugely exciting and filled with potential. Inventing an entirely new trajectory for something so large (like say, the city of Windsor) could indeed facilitate a crucially important discussion: in the instance of Pohflepp’s project, how different would the world’s stance on climate change be if Carter had been re-elected; in the instance of imagining the future of Windsor, how bad will things get if nothing changes.

[via We Make Money Not Art]

Tree Museum: Public Art by Katie Holten


Kind of strangely, I read about this project in the New Yorker and momentarily confused it with Canada’s Tree Museum, but ultimately thought it was worth noting given a recent conversation we had with Edwin who came by our Office Hours last week about a potential audio-based community project.

The video above describing the Holten’s project is kind of brutal (especially the soundtrack), but it gives a good idea of the way it works—acting as a kind of series of stops on a museum tour, with a variety of trees being the markers in each neighbourhood.

100 trees give voice to 100 perspectives featured in the Grand Concourse’s TREE MUSEUM. Irish artist Katie Holten created this public art project to celebrate the communities and ecosystems along this 100 year-old boulevard. Visitors can listen in on local stories and the intimate lives of trees offered by current and former residents: from beekeepers to rappers, historians to gardeners, school kids to scientists.

You can call 718-408-2501to access the audio guide.

Our Blog is 1 Year Old


A year ago today, the first post was made on BrokenCityLab.org – Broken City Lab is Alive.

Last night, Josh and I went for a walk and we thought, for a moment, we were in a real city. On our walk, we saw that there were people out walking, riding bicycles, enjoying the view alongside meadows and wildflower gardens, the downtown streets were shutdown and open to pedestrians to walk and sit outside of bars and restaurants without the traffic. For a few hours last night, the city didn’t seem quite so broken.

The post that I made a year ago had a picture that, for me, kind of summarized the general sense of the city for a lot of people. I’m not sure that anything has changed, and in all likelihood, things are worse than ever, but last night I had a feeling of hope for the city that I haven’t felt for a while.