Project MLab Detroit

“Narnia? Naaa”

“Community Building, Urban Renewal words politicians use as platforms. Guys not running for anything, not running from Detroit actually did something – in days”

Photos by Jeff Caldwell

I was invited to tag along as an advisor in Detroit back in 2009 for Project M Lab. This was also a time for me to learn more about improvisational and interpretive happenings and how that relates to design and site specific work. I love improvising a DJ mix, this was not as fun.

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A group of students and educators who don’t know each other show up to solve a problem that was yet to be defined. Of course I did what designers normally do and took a look at found type, which proved to be extremely useless.

That’s one of our hosts: Doug Kisor who is the chair of the design department at the Center for Creative Studies. Looks like we are standing in front of a Diego Rivera!


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We ended focusing on the the problem of urban planning and decay in the city of Detroit. You can’t do much to address this issue in a few days and I wasn’t about to get seduced into creating a ruin-porn photo essay that raises awareness. What can you do about sprawl and abandoned blocks of decrepit housing? You can focus on HORSESHOES and COMMUNITY BUILDING. A post-techno-dance-less community rave blow out, for me. Once again, I wasn’t there for the big party!

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