Saturday, October 2, 2010

Who would you want to film a movie about Detroit?

This blog post from David Byrne really helped me decompress my thoughts about what I want to tell people about my trip to Glasgow...

Why am I so interested in Detroit and Glasgow connection?

Both are gritty post-industrial cities that once brought immigrants together in one place to build great machines and became symbols for their output. Today one city is doing quite well and the other we are hoping will follow in its success but along its own path.

Toby Barlow's New York Times Ops --> "Glasgows Miles Better" campaign?
Cranbrook and architect Saarinen --> Glasgow and architect Mackintosh
Kresge Fellowships -->  I can't find a specific name for it but there is a general high amount of support for arts organizations (although there was word that they are trying to fight to keep it that way because there's a good chance that 30% of the governmental budget to support cultural programs are in the works of being cut!)

Humble artists from both cities cite that being on a form of unemployment gave them the means and time to create work everyday may have been the REAL catalyst to rethinking the city as a cultural center. Although I do not believe that artists solely need 'just enough to live off of' in order for a sustainable arts infrastructure to go into place, that idea just assumes feeding off of what artists naturally do (community development etc.) in order for everyone else but the artists to become sustainable and paid for doing what they love.

For artists in both cities, try as hard as you might, most of everybody is working a minimum wage job.

I'm sure there's much more, but that's my homework!
I picked up 3 books I'm really interested in:
ARCADE - Artists and Place Making about "the role of artists in the context of urban environments... central to both art practice and urban planning... using the recent regeneration of the notoriously deprived neighborhood of... Gorbals as a starting point"
Who Belongs to Glasgow?
Glasgow Museum's towards an engaged gallery - Contemporary art and human rights: GoMA's social justice programs

Where we are lacking what Glasgow has:
  • Ann Arbor is no Edinburgh...
That city provides even more outlets for artworks and another art scene that has just as much to explore, still a decent amount of artist-run spaces and feels very connected.
We don't have a cheap train that people expect to take to enjoy Ann Arbor for the day or vice versa.
  • Consistent Critical Writing about Art and Life
I have about 14 publications / written articles from different galleries that I visited (in two days and two cities!) and six of them have catalogs or available critical writing about the shows. I don't want to get into how many paid writers we have in this city that write on a consistent basis about
  • We don't really attract international artists when we have art festivals. At least not massive art installations unless it's at MOCAD or well, let's be honest, Grand Rapid's Art Prize is closest.
  • Radiohead will play to a crowd of like 120 people there.
  • Tourism there is very easy, and they're mastering something I'd like to see develop in Detroit, "Artist tourism" As a city it provides many avenues for the kinds of tours artists would really want, do some couch surfing, go check out a band play here or there, be able to walk anyone you may want to go... Also you can actually run into Belle and Sebastian or Jim Lambie or whoever you fancy is the top artists of our day.
  • Other things that people in the UK are much more accustomed to that aren't just in this particular city: it's affordable to get multiple degrees or a PhD, there's healthcare

How we have more than what Glasgow has:

  • All that Glasgow has left of its previous industry is one small steamship building plant... we still have GM, Ford, Chrysler/Fiat trying to rebuild their empire probably through people producing or buying fuel-efficient cars, but can't we just not try to 'buy' our way out of problems?

(sorry that was secretly negative)

  • Public Art is powerful, i.e. Heidelberg Projects, and when the lights that said "Everything Is Going To Be Alright" drastically alter the psyche of the people that live here, so in a sense, artists are more powerful in this city than in others to create a commotion, set an idea in motion... less red tape...
  • But we do have a kind of cooperative feeling that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. This would be a good time to drop that I just got offered to teach a class at CCS! I was offered it by the new chair of the fine arts department after I gave the lecture I've always wanted to give and once again by putting myself out there doing, there's a new line that I found: Chance favors the connected mind. If there's anything more exciting than being in an incubation of creativity, it's being a part of the creation of such things! I love my talented friends, I look forward to all of us doing well together in a wonderfully non-competitive way.
  • It's not just about the arts too, the DIY scene is mainly made up of social activists, urban farmers, educators, musicians and young entrepreneurs. The more disciplines that get in on the fun, the better I say!
  • I like our food better. I like being able to get authentic Mexican food on one day and then authentic Japanese food on another.
  • I personally enjoy how small Detroit really is, there's something I've always enjoyed about the how much we can pack into such a small scene, and still there's tooooo many cool things to go do in a given night. Hopefully I will make it to some tonight.

Lastly, anyone notice how hard it's getting to keep up with all the movies about Detroit? There's Palladium Boots Johnny Knoxville one, then there's Requiem for Detroit, and technically if we want to include it we can say that Matthew Barney is making a film about the city. I want to hear who you'd love to see direct a movie that is filmed and about Detroit.

My vote goes to Bernadette Corporation or the Coen Brothers.

1 comment:

Ryan H. said...

I would be curious to see Spike Lee's take on Detroit. I'm sure it would upset a ton of people, but it would certainly be interesting. I really liked Clint Eastwood in Highland Park. I don't know if documentaries of the city do it for me- Detroit needs films with imagination. I feel like the old city needs new stories.