black holes and gray matter. in one thousand tangos.


Party Animal house is gone. Charred remains cover the Detroit lot where nine fires destroyed six houses that make up much of the Heidelberg Project. Artist Tyree Guyton created the art installation in his decaying neighborhood where vacant lots surround the few houses that are left. His controversial statement about the effect of crime on the once lively neighborhood is made more ironic since the fire damaged a security camera that might have caught a suspected arsonist.

Over the past 28 years mostly-vacant houses and lots on Heidelberg Street were a colorful tourist destination drawing over 275,000 visitors annually. People came to a neighborhood they might usually avoid and stopped to take pictures of the fanciful, yet serious, cartoonish pop art of found objects. … One Saturday morning I found a local artist friend of Guyton’s set up with paper and brushes instructing neighborhood children on perspective and other drawing techniques as they created their own works of art.

Guyton has stated that although difficult, the destruction is ‘a new beginning’ or an evolution of the art.”

NG | Homes as Art Destroyed in Detroit

“You want lessons? Don’t sprawl. That Ponzi scheme will catch up with you. Nurture real universities, constant reinvention and civic decency and opportunity that includes all citizens. Don’t assume the “creative destruction” of the supposedly unfettered free market won’t destroy your community, too. Or end up at the gates of your gated property (not for nothing do we have a zombie craze). Invest in your city. Beware of scare tactics by the right and some quarters of the media about the gazillions facing us in “unfunded liabilities.” There is a gap between public pension promises and assets, but who the hell’s fault is that? We’re the richest country in the world. Wall Street is gambling with $600 trillion in nominal derivatives. And the retired garbageman is to blame?”

Detropia,”Once the fastest-growing city in the world, it’s now the fastest-shrinking city in the United States.” AR (now on VUDU/iTunes)

Detroit’s story has encapsulated the iconic narrative of America over the last century the Great Migration of African Americans escaping Jim Crow; the rise of manufacturing and the middle class; the love affair with automobiles; the flowering of the American dream; and now … the collapse of the economy and the fading American mythos. With its vivid, painterly palette and haunting score, Detropia sculpts a dreamlike collage of a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution. These soulful pragmatists and stalwart philosophers strive to make ends meet and make sense of it all, refusing to abandon hope or resistance. Their grit and pluck embody the spirit of the Motor City as it struggles to survive postindustrial America and begins to envision a radically different future. 

More Detroit.

©2011 Kateoplis