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  1. Deindustrial Fragments
    This was a short excerpt, but I enjoyed learning more about deindustrialization in Canada compared to the United States. Like one of the prior readings, this one spoke of how Canada escapes a lot of shutdowns because of their nationalism, and by shifting blame on the US. Because of this, ruins don’t ‘constitute a landscape’ like they do for us; they are few and far between. This lack of visible ruins also must help keep up their morale when it comes to deindustrialization.

    I also enjoyed the oral history part of this reading. Like a previous reading mentioned, oral history is helpful because it is subjective, and the people interviewed surely mentioned aspects of closings that other accounts would never.

    To me, this reading was mainly about the warped priorities of big corporations. The idea that security hinders productivity and profit seems ridiculous. A lack of security and accountability is what normally is the driving force of the failure of a business. Companies are over-killing their spending their money in some areas, and cutting in the wrong places (employee safety net).

    The reading brings up a good point about the conflict between a company’s mobility/freedom and its accountability for providing security. I think businesses should look towards the European way of dealing with security: mandatory advanced notice of a closing, mandatory negotiations, help with relocation employees, full transparency of records, etc. This will ensure all corporations be held accountable for what happens during/after a shut down. Transparency is what could save a future factory, by noticing trends and making predictions.

    My favorite point from this reading was when it mentions that sudden, unannounced shut downs make it impossible to try to save the facility and possibly save it by planning for new uses. Acknowledging a shut down in advance gives the city a chance to find a way to recycle/reinvent the building before it becomes a ruin, which is a great idea.

    Disordering Space
    I disagreed with the idea that purification of space is the ideal; I think exciting things can happen when barriers are broken in a city, and mingling occurs. I feel some planners over think this designation of space and should be looser, or else ‘serial monotony’ may occur. I think the most interesting places in a city are in fact these ‘wild zones’ as he called it. I think it is this over-planning that causes ruins to haunt those planners. When buildings become ruins and upkeep ends, nature and decay start to overtake it; it loses its place in the flow that architects and planners worked so hard to create. It loses its purpose and place in the network. The loss of the routine and function this ruin once served throws the community for a loop, but I don’t think it has to be this way. This is why restoration/reinvention is key in keeping a ruin from bringing down a whole community; it doesn’t have strip the city of purpose.

  2. Allison Romero

    Although I think “Disordering Space” was very repetitive, this article made me really stop and think about how cities are separated into areas. I had never considered this as a problem until I read this article and I realized how problematic it can be. It can be a particular issue when these buildings start to decay and they are more out of place because it is the opposite of the what the architect was trying to achieve. Also, it’s interesting to question about how people think about things. By separating civic areas from domestic areas, people separate the ideas of “civic life” and “domestic life” in their minds as well. Because we grow up this way too, we might not realize how we distinguish aspects of our lives as I mentioned before. Sometimes these sections of cities are developed for a specific class, gender, and/or generation of people. This separates people of a city too rather than uniting them and creating a sense of community.

    In “Reindustrialization,” I found it particularly aggravating when the author discussed the strong opposition to companies reporting shutdowns. I agree that the best way to serve the economy would be to improve work environments. Throughout history, there are constant changes in the ways businesses function. I noticed that there was also a discussion of companies that give up when they are not making enough profit. Even where I work, I have gotten annoyed because the company will cut workers’ hours to the minimum to the point where employees quit to find other jobs. This was because we were expected to make so much profit. However, the company itself would often need the help of the employees being cut. If the employees were given sufficient hours, not only would they be happier and their morale would be better, the company would function more smoothly. Instead, everybody suffered so that the profits would be high enough.

    “Deindustrial fragments” was particularly interesting simply because it had the exact words of the workers. Their voices made the stories more real. You sympathized with their plight more and celebrated their victories. It gives insight into what actually happens when industrial plants shut down and how these companies will dehumanize their employees. For example, when the workers went to meet with corporate, the company basically just listened to their problems so that they could say they had. It was not actually intended to be helpful for anyone. These workers then had to turn to desperate measures to get what they needed done but they successfully changed their future.

  3. Deindustrial fragments:


    I found these short stories to be fascinating. Each story different but somewhat of the same. Some spoke of the bad that happened but most were about happy recollections. The stories told of hard work and than their jobs/lives being taken from the quickly. All stories came back to the same conclusion that the United States is the reason for their job loss.

  4. Deindustrial fragments:The stories of people who had to stay strong while loosing everything they worked for was sad but inspiring at the same time. The fact they were not the reason for their losses means they had no control or anyone they could count on because their own higher power (government, united states, etc) were the ones to demolish their American dreams. Even though some were sad and some were happy recollections, they all discussed how hard it was to have everything taken so quickly from them. But at the same time they changed their own future to stay positive through this.

    Disordering Space: I think that ruins should not just be abandoned and let to be overtaken by nature and decay. It should be something that makes people stand up and take action to revisit this ruin and recreate it to something better. The architects that work so hard on these places did not want them to just be demolished or forgotten. Its a piece of art we need to admire and restore. Make a sense of unity and community.

    Similar to our project we are learning about the history of these projects or ruins so we can achieve better things for these communities that feel they have no hope. We need to come together instead of separate to reinvent what was taken from us all. Beauty and Power makes hope. Hope is stronger than fear itself.

  5. Reading: Tim Edensor. “Ruins and the Dis-orienting of space” in The Necessity for Ruins. Materiality.

    I felt that the basic concept behind the reading of “Ruins and the Dis-orienting of space” is talking about the fluctuations that happen in the material world. The necessity for things to break down and be repurposed as raw material is a natural process that is governed by time and space. The recycling process of broken down buildings and using them to reprocess them as a functioning part of society enables a reset, which allows for growth within a society. As needs and industry changes there will be a need for different resources and a need for adaption and change. Spaces and raw materials can be gathered and repurposed to meet a new demand that arises out of processes such as a depletion of a kind of a material while adjusting to current production. A good example of this is the auto industry and the switch to electrical/hybrid engines and this shift in demand for products like these.

    Reading: Steven High and David Lewis. “Deindustrial Fragments” in Corporate Wasteland: The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization.

    In the reading there is an exploration of the term deindustrialization where it goes beyond the physical forms of deindustrialization but looking at the behind the scenes economic changes as well. There is a direct correlation between the “deindustrialization” of financial or economic processes, which lead to social and cultural ones as well. This comparison between the down fall of the industrialization and the modern ruins that follow them represent a temporal aspect of society and the change between era’s.

  6. Deindustrial Fragments
    This excerpt is a chapter from the book “corporate wasteland.” It starts off talking about the once booming industrial areas in Canada in which the author traveled with a photographer. Two companies, the Steel Company of Canada (Stelco) and Dominion Foundries (DOFASCO) are still up and running steel mills. The author then goes on to display interviews with people who once worked in now closed down factories. The first is Dorothy Routenburg who worked in the Twine Mill in Ontario which closed in 1970. Her story starts off with the time she went to see a house because she had decided she needed to buy one. Her problem was that she only had $5 in her pocket. When she spoke of her concerns with her foreman, he told her to go see a credit union. At the credit union she was told that as long as she could find someone to cosign for her, she would have the money to buy her house. Her foreman offered to cosign for her. Her story ends with the plant closing due to “too much opposition.”

    The second interview was with John Livingstone of True Temper in Ontario. John’s story starts off with how he was told that the plant he was working at would be closing. He was told that his plant would be closing at the end of the year. They ended up having a meeting and agreeing on a closure agreement. The employees got pension multipliers and medical was extended. They also got a decent severance package for the most part.

    The next interview is with Peter Wirth from Truscon and Canada Motor Lamp. Peter went to Canada Motor Lamp when he lost his job at Truscon. This interview is not very lengthy, but discusses the open floor plan of the building which a fire had been set in.

    Next is Ed Lawrenson of Bendix Automotive who discussed his memories of the announcement of the closure of his factory. He was 27 years old with children, renting his house. I can only imagine the fear and anxiety that would come with such a situation. To make things worse, when the place closed the files of the employee information was lost. There was no record of this gentleman working at that factory when he went for unemployment insurance. This is one of the most tragic stories included here. Ed discusses that corporations are allowed to go in, abuse the locals, make money, then leave the place in ruins.

    David Christopherson was also interviewed; he worked at Allen Industries. He found out about the fact that he was losing his job by rumors. The employees were picking up signs, but the company would not talk to them about what was going on. When a meeting was set up, the management of the company listened to what the workers had to say and responded with “we have nothing further to say.” The employees decided on a tactic of wearing badges that said “I’m blowing the whistle on Allen Industries” as well as carrying whistles to get attention. They blew these whistles when they got far enough from their foreman. They ended up getting a settlement in the end.

  7. Deindustrial Fragments
    Hard working people losing their jobs was sad but that’s the way of life. They should move on to reality and stop looking back. Once on a while talk about their status when factories and mills was running can help their memorization but it’s not going to change and they should face it and stop complaining.

  8. Julianna

    Deindustrial Fragments
    Although wastelands are usually seen as a coffee stain on the maps of the states, it still can hold beauty to the ones who find little details through the camera lens that brings out the history of the building and area. I do find factories and mills kind of a sore spot when looking at the landscapes, but that doesn’t mean to make them into strip malls and cinema complexes that will only close down and crumble with the economy to start over the cycle again. We should give back what we took from the earth and replant parks, trees, plants and everything in between. If that is impossible because of the bare soil and unhealthy area, then create something that will benefit the community. Back near home, Leominster is considering to build a casino in the town. Yes it will create 600 construction jobs and employ the entire town and bring in money left and right, but what happens to the locals, and the natural life that is already there? The people that worked so hard to buy houses and work in jobs will now be crowded with people with very low or no income coming to the casinos, polluting the area. The stories in the article were very moving and inspirational. For them to be uprooted because jobs were closed is hard, but living in an economy where one day money is great while the next day it’s worthless can happen. It will keep happening if large businesses are being build without consideration if it will survive tomorrow. I feel like the casino will be more work than it is and start to kick people out of their comfort zones and homes just so they can get away from industrialization. If we live simple and look at the detail that is there, we can live without worry of large landscapes of closed businesses.

  9. Allison Romero

    Of these excerpts from Herscher’s book, a few things stuck out to me in particular. “Detroit Geographical Expedition” reminded me of the article we read for Monday. Again, an important topic is about how physical space between different people separates them from each other mentally too. This was a particularly fascinating point brought up in “Disordering Space” and which I mentioned before. The Expedition, as continued by University of Michigan students, is fascinating–to show where people will and will not travel. It would bring up some very important issues within communities. Related to this, “Alley Culture” mentioned that art should not be separated from lower class areas. Therefore, contemporary art is located in a gallery in a neighborhood of Detroit with a wood fire stove. This brings together any separation between the higher and lower class; it says that art can and should be enjoyed by anyone. Again, rather than allowing physical space to separate, they are integrating everyone. Although integrating people is difficult, these initial steps are noteworthy.

  10. Detroit Geographical Expedition
    I think the concept of these maps is interest, and I don’t think I have ever heard or seen anything similar. The idea of a more subjective map, or a non disciplinary one as it is described seems like it could be something that could get the ball rolling for change in a city like Detroit (especially if it angers some areas who are labeled poorly, like the area with the crack houses). Though it isn’t a disciplinary map, I think it can help analyze what areas most need help, and establish change.

    Heidelberg Project
    The Heidelberg project sounded like an interesting way to utilize abandoned property. I think the appropriation of common junk items found in such a place, like the appliances and toys, can make for good commentary on the situation Detroit is facing; it takes the garbage out of context and presents them as art. However, it also said the designs were mostly unplanned and that the artist did this to many houses. I just think some of these houses may have been able to be put to better use, like some of the other properties from these readings.

    African Bead Museum
    This museum is a better way to repurpose a building, compared to the Heidelberg project. The way they decorated the buildings with found materials like glass and wood celebrates the ruins as African American traditions; it seems much more thought out than the Heidelberg buildings. This idea has a focused idea and narrative. I think repurposing buildings in this way is a way to make them last, and in turn make a larger impact on their cities.

    Alley Culture
    Using unused property to promote cotemporary artists is another positive function for such buildings. This is another idea that could have longevity, like the African Bead Museum. This is an especially good plan because it said they exhibit ‘politically progressive’ artists. These are the types of artists whose messages instigate change, and this is what Detroit needs very much.

    Detroit Industrial Design Gallery
    What I got out of this was the question of value in a degrading city such as Detroit. The man who placed his home and a Heidelberg site up for 1,000,000,000 and 500,000 got the reaction he wanted; he got people to question the worth of such buildings as well as the city. I think this was kind of a comical way to do it, which is effective at times, but it still got the message across and got people talking about the city.

  11. Heidelberg Project:
    I really like so much about this article is how it reminds me of what our class in doing for projects. The artist Tyree Cuyton takes abandoned homes and lots in Detroit and and taking objects from around his neighborhood, items mostly seen in urban life, and the objects are carefully laid out in the abandoned houses or lots. The places decorated with the objects are then decorated with colorful dots all around the house, lots, streets, trees, etc.
    What I liked so much about this article at the end was Cuyton’s intentions with this project. His goal is “to improve lives and neighborhoods through art” (287). I do understand what he was going for with this project. Usually abandoned places within cities are usually taken over by the homeless or people destroying the property. By taking theses places the people would rather look at it and reserve it than destroy it. His project reminded me of what we are doing for our group projects. What I liked also is how he recycling objects that have been used and creating art out of it that draws the community together.

  12. “Detroit Geographical Expedition” in  The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit.
    “Maps that could change the maps of the world” I don’t think that mapping out the obvious areas that need help in order to show people what needs more help than other areas is a good thing. You can walk around detroit and already know that a lot of areas need help, not just the poorest neighborhoods, but anywhere else where people live. Yes it is good to document the businesses, families and events that happened in the neighborhoods, but using it in a way to discriminate the poor and separating them from everyone else isn’t good.

    “Heidelberg Projects” in  The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit.
    I believe that Heidelberg is right when he says where is the community when this art is being made and how does it benefit the lives of the poor? Making the abandoned houses more visually appealing is nice and it’s easier to look at but it doesn’t hide the fact that these houses had to be forcefully abandoned because of no income. These houses sit and decay because no one wants to take up a house with that much work. I think they’re better suited for people who simply need a roof over their heads for the night. Not druggies and squatters, but travelers and people who respect what detroit has become.

    African Bread Museum” in  The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit.
    This way of showing art is better than painting dots on houses or nailing teddy bears to outside walls. It has a deep purpose to pay homage to what was lost when Africans left their native homeland. Culture is deeply important and this way of showing the love and beauty of how objects can bring power and healing is wonderful.

    “Alley Culture” in  The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit.
    Showing local art while keeping people warm when it’s cold holds something great. Art can show wonderful and happy or sad stories, and what better way to get closer to the community than to paint, draw, talk, eat or drink around a wood burning stove in the winter. Places like this hold more importance than just hanging up art on walls and shutting the doors at night. Also having a wide range of art can open up different learning opportunities for artists who don’t have a lot and can’t afford classes. This place seems like a melting pot of music and people.

    “Detroit Industrial Design Gallery” in  The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit.
    Creating art with your friends and community as you sit around a warm fire is priceless and it doesn’t need an old house for its location. It can be done anywhere. I understand Burke’s attempts to kick start the economy by putting the house up for sale, but no one can afford that priced home as throw away money for a community who needs much more than that amount of money to get it back up and running. Everyone who is in the housing market now is looking to buy a house to move into, or selling theirs so they can move somewhere else. The intentions are nice but not realistic enough to help. It’s too fast of a change and it could disrupt the economy and housing around detroit if that is done.

  13. | The Uneal Estate Guide to Detroit |
    I liked how the introduction gave various meanings to the word, ‘unreal’ in order to get our minds going on the matter. Shrinking cities can teach us much about our future economic decisions. So much reasoning and so much questioning lies behind urban decay, but the city of Detroit can act as our guide for answers. The justice of the meanings ‘real’ and ‘unreal’ are categorized throughout the guide that create particular perceptions to have on this subject (shrinking cities). Our system has much to do with our overall culture/ way of living, leading to our overall mindsets.. future transformation will take place with an open mind, knowledge of past destruction’s and on focused opportunities.

  14. I thought that all the ideas had a different approach to utilizing the unwanted properties for art. In the introduction of the book, the author mentions that the cities are not necessarily descending back into a lesser state, but changing into a different one, which is an idea that had been brought up before. I think this idea is key to defining how the “shrinking city” mythos can be understood and dealt with. Most people/objects/places do not have permanent features, they morph with the environment based on need and climate. Viewing these changes (generally large= better and smaller=worse) is what causes a lot of people to condemn cities like Detroit as soon as they start to shrink.

    The specific projects that were spoken of in the book featured ways to revitalize they area that called back to it’s specific roots in a way that the initial formation of the city probably didn’t. There’s also been a large change in the racial profile of the area, which may call for different structures or places within the city.

    I liked the idea of the structures created at the African Bead Museum where the owner used his own initiative to create structures he felt were important. As someone who lives in that area of the city, he probably has a more realistic idea of what that area needs as opposed to a city council.

    The Detroit Industrial Design article was interesting with how it dealt with the community and the artificial values we place on objects. Pricing the house as such an unrealistic number was an interesting statement, and a clever one that inspired more talk than a structure like that could accrue without controversy.

    The Alley Culture article also took an interesting angle on the problem of wasted space. It turned a cramped area and turned it into an attraction due to it’s limitations. It’s a clever use of marketing to turn something like that on it’s head, and it’s a thought process that is not generally seen in conventional approaches to space. We tend to build what we need without first looking into the preexisting area for ideas or what it can offer without completely flattening it. I’ve seen design programs and images online where people have taken abandoned buildings like churches or warehouses and turned them into stunning living spaces which cost much less than building from the ground up.

  15. My favorite article of was the “Earthworks urban farm”. I loved that these individuals who run a soup kitchen decided to take their generosity further and created this urban garden. They not only provided healthy food for the needy but they gave their grave neighborhood a facelift. With the success of their farm they were able to expand even further to include honey and beeswax products along with canned goods. — This story appealed to me the most I believe because it touches on the projects in which we are trying to create now. This story is inspirational.

  16. Deindustrial Fragments

    This chapter interested me more than any other reading that we have done. The authors put in the interviews with the people that were affected by the mills being shut down. Usually the authors put a quote here and there from their interviewees but I really appreciate the paragraphs of the interviews. I thought this was a great idea because you can almost feel the emotion from the victims. Only one quote is not enough, in my eyes, to really get the gist of what these people are saying. The interview that I thought was important to me the interview with Ed Lawrenson. This man says that he was scared for him and his family, he says he was scared multiply times in his interview which made me stick with, “he was scared!” These are real people and real lives and corporations ruin it over a quick buck. He also says that the corporations have it “easy”, when things get really tough they are on their way to the next. All they have to do it pack everything up and leave, and not worry about anyone else besides their selves. Also another thing that I noticed about these particular interviewees, is that, they seem kind of calm about the mills being closed down. Some of them are worried and scared but most of them seem like they are calm, like this is an everyday thing, which is awful. That is not a life to live.

  17. Detroit Geographical Expedition
    Using the maps as a way to indicate the poor and the wealthy is not promising map. Aren’t we all suppose to be counted as equal? Yes, I understand that their is the line between rich and poor but they people that own that title know that they are. Why are we going to make it know to the whole world with this map they are too. The map is a good idea for businesses and properties, but do they have to clam them as rich or poor, mansion or a crack house?

    Heidelberg Project
    This I enjoyed very much being a sculptor. I appreciated the effort of Guyton, to try to get the community to think outside of the box, and incorporate art into their lives. Everything is art, tress, water, signs, toys, cars, paper, in one form or another everything is art, and he puts all of these little piece of art and combine them into a bigger piece. I can not help but think about, what if there were many of these Heidelberg projects all over Detroit, will it get people to start thinking as Detroit as art?

    African Bread Museum
    I thought that this museum was a well thought out plan to show the community the tradition and memory of African Americans. For my senior thesis, I am focusing on my Native American Heritage, where I bring together objects that have a meaning in my background, to create my sculptures. This is the same thing that Dabls is doing, but just because some people don’t get it or think it’s ugly doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a purpose. All of the elements that Dabl’s has brought together had a purpose and he had a purpose for those elements.

    Alley Culture
    I thought the Alley Culture gallery was a well thought out plan to get the community together. As upcoming artist myself, the idea of a space to display my art in my own city and have it to be open all year round is awesome. Galleries like this, on the outside must not look like anything but on the inside it’s beautiful. This was a great way to get the community together, to feel comfortable from the wood burning fire, or experience the amazing art work that could make you feel happy. Also to make this place a meeting building was great too, so they will get people to come into this building for all types of reasons.

    Detroit Industrial Design Gallery
    Burke’s idea of putting the Detroit Industrial Design Gallery on the market for $1,000,000,000 and $500,000, what I thought was a little out there. Yes he wanted to get the economy moving again but I don’t think this was a way to do it. It did get the attention from some people, like wow… why is this property going for this outrageous amount of money? Why is it so important? Why Detroit? What’s so important about Detroit? He gets the community to think over the worth of Detroit, which I thought was a great idea, as well as crazy.

  18. The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit

    This reading was intriguing to say the least. I was engrossed with how Detroit was used as a model city in order to show what can be learned about urban decay and “shrinking cities”. I liked how the reading brought up the question ‘what defines a city?’, because even though Detroit isn’t what it used to be back in it’s prime, it is still a city with a rich history. I also liked the motif of ‘real’ and ‘unreal’ and how it was explained to further help us, the readers, understand and grasp the subject at hand when it comes to these estates. The United States is very much at blame for what has happened to these industrial cities, but much can be created based off the knowledge gained from the history of Detroit. Detroit isn’t just a city under going urban decay. With the new demographics in the area, people who are locals would know what an area of the city needs, for example the African Bread Museum.

  19. Maura Silva
    Andrew Herscher-The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit

    Detroit is a site of an urban crisis. It is considered a shrinking city where everything has been lost. The city has loss of jobs, population, values, security, and overall poverty. Detroit has fallen out of the economy. The Unreal Estate Guide initiates a new focus on Detroit as a location not only of urban crisis but also of urban opportunity.
    The guide documents art, community, farming and forestry, culture, existing files, public spaces, monuments, architecture, and other successful pieces that bond the community space left in Detroit. The guide offers new perspectives on what a city is and what it can become, even in a time of a crisis.
    The guide offers alternative ways to understand that any city going through a crisis can still grow, and that Detroit is a place of creativity and self-reliance. Detroit stands as a place to form hope. Overall I think these readings were interesting. It leads your mind to think of ways to produce creative adaptations to abandoned cities and ruins that felt they were lost forever.

  20. I really enjoyed Andrew Herscher’s, “The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit” mainly because it some what reminded me of what we are trying to do with our projects only on a much greater scale. It also opened my eyes to opportunity’s of a similar agency that could be started in Fall River or New Bedford. The Unreal Estate Agency of Detroit recognizes that Detroit is current location of urban crisis, but can also be a city with lots of urban opportunity. I feel that New Bedford is very similar and with the help of young students and the projects we are researching we can still make New Bedford a thriving city.

  21. The reading for today focus on community transformation. They are taking what is perceived as a negative blank space and turn it into something recognizable. They do not always turn it into something desirable but they turn it into something that sparks an interest. The Heidelberg project was focused on what was called oppositional-aestheticization. That phrase put it perfectly as they took the discarded plots of land and placed discarded objects. They point was to make a statement and they truly did as the community tried to shut down their efforts twice. The juxtaposition of garbage on a land plot was key to their success. Garbage after all is to be thrown away and never seen from again. That is why a dump will never be in a city center but on the outskirts where it is neither seen nor heard.We want to throw garbage away and never see it again. Garbage makes us uncomfortable. It is one of the key parts of horror, disgust. So when we are confronted by garbage we are appalled, but we need to be confronted by it so we can apply a solution to our problem. That’s what this art piece does it confronts us.

    The industrial gallery does a very similar practice except it has placed a price on garbage. There is only a hidden market in garbage; it is collection and disposal. but it is not meant to be seen. people pay a premium for clean and to keep things clean. It was a daring move to place a price on refuse. The most daring part was to make it a million dollars. Unreal is how the reading described it and the description fits perfectly. Not only in a physical sense, but also in a notional sense. The physical object are real but the collective is surreal. The actual value is nothing, no one would place a value on the detritus but the nominal value placed was a million, an unreal price that nobody would pay. It makes a statement on our economy and what we value. There are memories and history behind these objects but now there is only a visual that sparks contemplation.

    The Alley Culture and the African Bead Museum are the more impacting projects. They truly gather citizens and make real change in the community. These projects are reacting to the lost culture that has been forgotten over the years as the community has left Detroit. The Bead Museum is trying to reestablish a culture that has been forcibly taken from a people. The Alley culture and bead museum are remixing the culture and the communities in tangible ways that make positive investments into the city as a whole.

  22. One thing that caught my eye was how Herscher used Detroit as an example to show what urban decay looked like, he did this to show what a shrinking city resembled and some things the city experienced. Herscher has proven to us that examining and studying one or more shrinking cities can give us the ability to learn how shrinking cities are formed and how we can make wiser choices, presently as well as in the future, to avoid forming another possible shrinking city.

  23. – Andrew Herscher’s The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit

    The five excerpts from this reading are very fascinating. One that stood out to me the most was “Alley Culture.” The Alley Culture is a gallery held in a converted garage behind a house in Woodbridge, a historic neighborhood of primarily Victorian homes. Works by contemporary artists are displayed on exposed wood-frame walls. This particular excerpt was informative and lead me to further research more about the Alley Culture. This quote from blogspot’s Detroitarts: “I would say I am pretty hip to most galleries in the metro Detroit area…but it was this gallery – Alley Culture – that caught me off guard. The gallery has been around for some time, since November of 1995 to be exact! Yes, that was even before I was out of high school! Even artists like Gordon Newton, Michael Mikolowski, Hugh Timlin and former Detroit artist Peter Williams were in a group show there that was curated by Michelle Perron (College for Creative Studies Center Gallery Director). The gallery is more like a shed or a garage, very rough but it still does the job. An interesting place to check out.” I love the idea of using a garage as an art gallery, this brings a lot of dynamic into the vicinity and especially with the fact that it is surrounded by Old Victorian architecture, a great way to unite two non-homogeneous atmosphere/environment together. The quote that stood out to me the most in this excerpt is, “Alley Culture translate the ambitions of Collaborative Projects to Detroit and to Detroit’s project specific conditions, challenges, and possibilities.”

    ALLEY CULTURE’s website:

  24. Andrew Herscher
    The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit

    Detroit Geographical Expedition
    This chapter is, not surprisingly, about a group called the Detroit Geographical Expedition. This group was lead by William Bunge, as he worked with student and Detroit activists. The goal of this group was to “expose the spatial effects of racism, disinvestment, and impoverishment in the city.” For some unknown reason, in 1970 the leader, Bunge, left his position and the group was disbanded. While it was active, the group created 4 reports which were not published, but are archived. These reports were found by architecture students in 2009; the reports inspired the students who found them. The students reamed up with residents of a neighborhood to create a map of the insecure spaces in the area. When the students’ work was being prepared for publishing, a crack house which was included in their work had been burned down. Most of the student group took this act as an indicator that they were not welcome; others took it as a way their research could be used. The group ended up being “a laboratory for urban advocacy.”

    Heidelberg Projects
    This chapter is about an artist named Tyree Guyton. This gentleman grew up in Detroit, not far from where he does his works. His works are not that of an average artist, simply painting or sculpting; his work explores much deeper. Guyton finds random abandoned objects left around the neighborhood and exhibits them on abandoned houses. Guyton has been quoted as saying “there was no plan and no blueprint, just the will and determination to see beauty in the refuse.” This man saw through the fact that all of these objects were discarded and saw that they still had life. He found objects such as TVs, stuffed animals, shoes, hubcaps, and telephones. He worked with pretty much anything that people had used and then left behind. In 1991 and 1999, the City of Detroit destroyed parts of the projects; this was a result of people having protests. Guyton intended “to improve lives and neighborhood through art,” but apparently people were just not seeing it. His work leaves many questions, such as “who can legitimately speak on behalf of the community? Who is able to listen to the community? How can art benefit the community?” These are very legitimate questions without easy answers, I’m sure every person could come up with different ones.
    I decided to take a look at some of his works, I find them really interesting. The dots that Guyton seems to like so much give his work an almost whimsical kind of feel to it. Some pictures I found that were cool:

  25. Ryan Gallagher
    Craft of Research Response

    Booth- chapter three from topics to questions

    The reading is interesting to me based on the approach it took to thinking about how to start the conversation rolling on a particular topic. The beginning stages of research often times can be frustrating and involve a lot of headaches. Limiting the question to a much smaller problem/question or idea will lead to better research methodologies. This will allow for vital information to come in during research than getting lost in the details of a complex argument. I do agree that to beginning research on a topic there needs to be an underlying, then the narrowing of a topic to a specific time period and so on. This document has a good step-by-step process to tackle the historical aspect of our assignment and we as a group will be able to use it for reference to gain more knowledge on our topic.

    Booth- Chapter 13 Revising your organization and argument

    Although we are not posing much of an argument within our project we are creating a discussion about materials and their under/over usage. A lot of this conversation is non-verbal based on the structure we are constructing. To get a better understanding of what we are trying to achieve as a group we really need to examine the overall argument that is going on as far as the use of materials within our society.

    Some of these organizational methods are arranged in the reading to begin to think about this argument

    1. Identify your outer frame and main points – limiting ambiguity
    2. Identify major point – Establishing some type of organization of information
    3. Diagnosing the whole – thinking about the impact of the project in its entirety.

    These steps will better construct the argument or the conversation that we are starting with our projects so that it is strategic to the audience that we are targeting. This will allow for either the written forms of communication or visual forms of communication to sync and enable a better conversation to be established between the audience, or the reader and the person, or object posing the argument.

    UN Magazine 7.1 Helen Johnson Is the Research your practice, or is the practice your research?

    This reading couples the ideas and the way we are constructing our class. The organization of thoughts and the emphasis on research entering the art world is very interesting to me. The process of understanding a particular topic and getting to a centralized purpose/ objective is essential. I think this will enable better works of art that not only have meaning but get to the point to create a bigger impact on the audience that the artist is trying to target furthering the education of people and expanding the visual database of our culture.

  26. Julianna
    Craft of Research: Planning your Project
    Before rushing head first into a project, research is the most important thing to do that should be first on the list. Having a topic that has enough information will also benefit in the amount of research needed. Having little information will only cause struggle when searching. Knowing your readers is also important because they will be looking for certain information on the topic being searched. I wouldn’t have known to think about the readers looking into the research I would be doing, so knowing details like that will help me a lot. Making diagrams also will help both the research and the readers. When you have research about your topic, now you can pin point a question about your topic that you want to discuss about. Knowing the history and the benefits the question will have is crucial.

    Is the research your practice is the practice your research?
    Without research, a project or thesis will not be strong enough with credible information. Getting into the habit of researching your topic is the most important when writing, creating art or forming a project. But the question is, how much research is needed and when is it best to stop so there isn’t so much research, that its unorganized and confusing. Having outlines and guides while researching for a written work needs to be organized. I cannot create art without research and knowledge on the idea I have. I always create my work with some knowledge of information or idea that connects to my first topic. Then after research, I can continue with my creating because I would then know that my project I am creating will make sense.

  27. Matt Becker

    The reading this week that most spoke to me was the “Is the Research Your Practice or Is the Practice Your Research?” As a (visual arts) senior ready to graduate and looking at options for Grad Schools, the ideas of a thesis project is right in front of me.

    I think the article made some good points, one very important one being about the theoreticals of a work versus the reality of it. In my own art, I often try not to explain my piece. In a perfect world, the viewer would have knowledge of the topics I am working with and the title and piece itself should convey enough information that the viewer can engage with the work on some level, either drawing from their experience or reading into what I have put within the piece. (As a sidenote: I think that many artists undervalue the title of a work. It’s the only verbal link that is directly associated with the piece and it can completely change the meaning of a work if used correctly. Many famous pieces would not be the same without their titles.) As this is not a perfect world, generally the viewer will require input of knowledge within a certain area (Ex. if you’re working with a specific mythology, they may need the story told to them.) But if you then have to go on to explain why the picture related to the myth or how the myth is relevant, you haven’t done your job as an artist.

    The idea of art as research was also interesting. I don’t know how valuable it is to document your thoughts and ideas about the piece before going into it. If the piece works, it isn’t needed, and if it doesn’t, then no amount of explaining will make it a good piece (although, explanations about relevant topics related to the work are fine. You can’t know everything.) I do think that the artist should do research going into a project. Relying on your own intuition is a recipe for creating bland images, or the same image, over and over again. This can be useful, but should probably be avoided if you’re dealing with a complex topic.

    I believe that it is an artist’s job to visualize a concept. Meaning aside, the attempts made to visualize it are the experiments on behalf of the artist. I think that considering art and science as analogous might be a bit of a mistake. They’re closer to separate but equal entities. A scientist draws up a hypothesis, researches, experiments, and writes up the experiment for those who couldn’t be there to witness it. An artist draws up a hypothesis, researches, and then creates art as a reaction or visualization of the research. There is no need for a written portion (directly relating to the work) because the art itself is the documentation of the research). Treating art as if it needed to be explained creates a divide between the viewer and art. Art is, at it’s core, a tool for contemplation, an artists opinion based on source material. It is meant to be experienced. Explaining it creates an expectation that Art is some mystic or intuitive phenomena only available to the few “in the know.”

  28. | Craft of Research |
    Chapter 7- Making Good Arguments
    Breaking down the argument of the conversation should be applied to our individual class projects. At first, I did not understand the difference between the reasons/ evidence but after reading a few examples, I see clearly how the five steps connect. Just like the chapter states, we usually support a claim with just a reason and no evidence. Relating to the student projects, in order to ‘thicken the argument’ of our proposal (why this makes sense for overall improvement) we need to dig deep into the history and present needs to come up with vital evidence.
    Chapters from this book gave me a chance to explore the questions and steps necessary for completing a successful and inspiring project.
    – Planning Your Project
    From this chapter, I got reminded that it is okay to disagree with sources and start over on processes that don’t make sense. Reporting in such a way to continue a topic would be ideal instead of just broadcasting found data. Opening the mind to these questions diverts a new perspective to the research and may create something that was never intended in the first place.

  29. Is the research your practice is the practice your research?
    Art or non-art to do a project need to come up with topic and research. I had great time reading this book but all lot of them were common sense. While in progress of final project it definitely helps and organizes what to do for final project.

  30. After having the lecture on friday and then reading this assignment really will help get the ideas flowing for the project proposal. I look forward to exploring the 5 steps outlined in the reading. To be able to use this as a guideline to explore deeper as a how to will be really helpful. I agree with the person above that it gave me hope in the fact that I don’t always have to agree with what I find.

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