Understanding the Narrative We’re Told: Views on Detroit and Rustbelt Cities

Timing is everything. There’s been so many conversations had, links passed, and emails exchanged in the last few weeks are we embark on our How to Forget the Border Completely project that I’m still sorting through it all.

What’s missing, in all of this, is more time to make a visit to our neighbours to the north. But in the meantime, I thought I’d share some quick links that are well worth perusing…

First off, from our friend, Eric Boucher, a thoughtful critique of the idea of ruin porn and its many forms over at Guernica by John Patrick Leary.

Next, a quick read by the always insightful Diana Lind calling for plans for urban redevelopment to extend beyond the physicality of the process, in her first column in the New York Times, The Bright Side of Blight.

And then, some recent news on the revival of a new border crossing, the DRIC plan, while we imagine inventing our own.

As well, pointed out by Danielle, an extensive interview over on Juxtapoz with Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert (of PowerHouse fame) … still making my way through it, but some great contextualizing stuff so far.

Anyways, hoping this continues to build our research archive … if you have a chance to read over any of this stuff, would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Paris Street View

We’ve posted about the emerging Google Street View found photography sub-genre before. Michael Wolf is another artist using found GSV images to capture the absurd, banal, and occasionally poetic existence of modern street life. When compared with candid photography, Google Street View images present an infinitely larger database of frozen moments which were never intended to be seen as anything but instructional. Wolf has sifted through these images and presented to us an account of Paris at one moment in time.

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“You are Still Alive” Billboard

Steve Lambert was just one of the artists who were included in the 2010 Art Moves Billboard Festival in Torun, Poland. His work, titled “You are Still Alive” is a tongue-in-cheek interpretation of motivational imagery. The photograph is fantastic and seems to draw my attention more than the billboard itself. It seems like the outcome is a little different when billboards are used to hold an exhibition instead of used in their original locations to a non-commercial end–like our previous …and then the city billboard project. Even though I enjoy the idea of a billboard exhibition, somehow I feel this specific work would make more of an impact in a busy urban center.

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Welcome to the Neighbourhood Recap of Awesome Psychogeographic Exploration!!!

Welcome to the Neighbourhood

Welcome to the Neighbourhood took five groups of brave explorers on an adventure around West Windsor on Monday in order to highlight the potential to pay particular attention to the many things that usually go unnoticed in such a transient area.

Given that the neighbourhood surrounding the University of Windsor is made up mostly of student rental homes and the routes that many folks take to get to and from campus, inevitably we rarely get the chance to see some of the things that make this neighbourhood what it is.

So, two hours, three hundred photos, and many great stories later, our algorithmic walk was a huge success!

A quick warning, after the jump there’s thumbnails for the three hundred photos!!!

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Google Street View’s Street Photography


“A street view image can give us a sense of what it feels like to have everything recorded, but no particular significance accorded to anything.”

In a guest post over at Art Fag City, Jon Rafman presents an excellent image essay on Google’s Street View feature and the many amazingly curious images its roving cars have caught since its inception two years ago.

Collected from blogs and his own Google Maps usage, Rafman pulls some of the most compelling images from Street View and attempts to articulate both the importance in studying this growing mass of images captured by computer-controlled cameras and the implications of us, as human beings, continuing to place meaning onto their subject matter, their composition, and their moral implications.

I was certainly taken by a number of the images, and undoubtedly by the writer’s design, I began to wonder what it means to see these very selected images pulled from their contextual frame of more streets, more people, and less interesting combinations thereof.

Consider this a must-read.

[via Art Fag City]

Selective Architecture – Richard Galpin

Richard Galpin

As I stumbled on the work of Richard Galpin, I wondered about the possibilities of creating hand-made or photographic experiments with Windsor’s architecture to help understand and interpret Windsor’s architectural setting. I believe that these types of activity could help us design projects involving commentary of our physical surroundings. Here are a few words to describe Richard’s working process.

Richard Galpin’s complex art works are derived from the artist’s own photographs of chaotic cityscapes. Using only a scalpel Galpin intricately scores and peels away the emulsion from the surface of the photograph to produce a radical revision of the urban form. The artist allows himself no collaging, or additions of any kind – each delicate work is a unique piece made entirely by the erasure of photographic information.”

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28 Millimetres: Women

28 Millimeters: Women by JR

This is a huge project. JR, an “undercover photographer,” recently completed this large-scale photo installation on the rooftops of Kibera, Kenya. The photos on the roofs are of Kenyan women and are printed on water-resistant materials, thereby providing the homes with some protection in the heavy rain seasons, while the hillside also features faces that are split, but completed when the train passes through Kibera twice a day.

The scale of this project is incredible, but I really like that the photos also protect the homes beneath them.

[via Wooster Collective]

In Progress

Kim Boske, In Progress

In Progress by Kim Boske. From her statement, “I experience the “now” as a complex collection of all sorts of connected influences from the present and the past; a web of similarities and minute differences caused through the slight moving of time.”