Friday, September 24, 2010
Hello to our Ice House friends and supporters!
Our time at Art Prize has been great thus far. It's been a real treat to see the new 7 ft print and film displayed at the Women's City Club in Grand Rapids, and meet other artists and art lovers in the community. If you're in the area this weekend or upcoming week we'd love your support! You must activate your voting status in person at the event in order to vote. Here are all the details. Our text voting ID is 51341.
If you're in the Detroit area and would like to visit us in Grand Rapids, you're in luck -- there are still some spots on the bus! The bus will leave this Sunday at 10 AM from 12050 Hall Road in Macomb County, and return in the afternoon. Please email me for the details and to reserve your spot! email@example.com
Thanks to all for your continued support. See you in Grand Rapids!
Monday, September 13, 2010
We're organizing a bus trip to Grand Rapids from a central location driving directly to Grand Rapids and returning back after a few hours of taking in the art in GR. Once in Grand Rapids there will be free mini bus service to all 7 of the curated venues.
Documentation of the Ice House Detroit project will be in the Women's City Club.
It is an 1860's Heritage Hill two-story Italianate Villa home which survives as one of the remaining examples of this style of architecture in the latter part of the 19th century.
I am excited to display my new 7 foot print in its MOMA-produced frame, alongside the film which was recently transferred to bluray in high def. But I Imagine there will a lot of good work to see!
Special guest bus busker, Matthew Varvil!
Please RSVP to this event via the facebook event page.
It costs $20 per person, and lunch will be made available.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Recently, two separate surveys revealed that nearly 1 in 3 Detroit lots are either vacant or abandoned.
The Detroit Data Collaborative's block-by-block analysis of about 343,849 residential parcels found that about 64 percent contained occupied housing, nearly 10 percent had vacant homes and more than 26 percent were empty lots.
The survey conducted in August and September found 219,511 occupied homes, 33,529 vacant homes and 91,488 vacant lots. It also said 86 percent of homes appeared to be in good condition, while another 9 percent needed minor repairs.Whereas most homes in disrepair are demolished, the Michigan State Land Bank has repeated that it is their intention to deconstruct the Ice House Detroit property on McClellan St. Theirs is a unique project that disassembles rather than deconstructs homes so that the materials can be reused and recycled.
Also today, on what feels like the first day of spring in New York, Matthew and me met to discuss the book design which we are beginning to lay out. The book will document the production process of the Ice House Detroit installation from beginning to end, including stories from Ice House neighbors. The book will be given as a reward to those that donated to our project and will also be made available through local channels.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
With the opening of tomorrow's event there has also been a bit of reflection regarding all of those that have contributed to our successful project.
I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone that extended themselves: from The ARD TV in Germany to local resident Michael T. Jones that lives in the abandoned school across the street, a brilliant conversationalist that could use a hand.
It is with the highest regard that I thank all of the local Detroit support- there are so many. But if it were not especially for David Runk, Philip Cooley, Erica Hill, Tom Stoye, and the Michigan State Land bank, this project would not have gone off in the same manner, if at all.
It should be noted that The Michigan State Land Bank's Executive Director Carrie Lewand-Monroe, and Development Specialist Khalilah Burt both extended themselves for a community based project in a manner that is not so commonly seen in other states. It is because of their continued interest in community stabilization, and their goal of fostering the development of the blighted, tax reverted properties that they got behind our project from the very beginning.
I am extremely pleased to hear that it is still the State's intention to go ahead with the deconstruction rather than the demolition of the property at 3920 McClellan St.
If they have continued interest in working with us on the property, we hope to lease it in the future, and to further it's use as a beacon for constructive dialog between the far east side residents and those outside the city limits.
To the Michigan State Land Bank- thank you for keeping Michigan a productive State.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Here's a shot of our film crew from photographer and Ice House collaborator Tom Stoye. Thanks for the great documentation.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
Thanks to our great crew (and Mother Nature for a string of cold days) we were able to finalize the icing of the house. Early yesterday morning, a professional lighting crew was brought in to light the Ice House Detroit landscape with painterly skill. The crew was directed by Richard Sands while Gregory photographed the project with his 8x10 still camera and directed an installation film of his own. This film was shot using a 35mm movie camera. The large lighting and film component which was completed early this morning brought our collaboration to another level, utilizing the architectural installation as a canvas for yet another form of expression. We will no longer be working our 24 hour shifts, but we are still interested in maintaining the dialogue amongst the citizens of Detroit. The neighborhood in which we decided to do our project is one of the poorest in the nation but after getting to know many of you personally we have been genuinely inspired by your perseverance in the face of systematic disregard and neglect. Thank you for your kind and generous support and for all of the stories you have been so willing to share.
For those of you who have not seen the home thus far, please feel free to view the project at 3920 McClellan St. (just off of Mack). It can be viewed for the next several days until the sun takes it back.
There are other questions which remain with regard to our project. Will the Michigan State Land Bank live up to their "intention" of using early release prisoners to deconstruct our home as opposed to the standard demolition? We have spoken to several organizations that are ready to walk through the home to agree that the inner wooden structure of the Ice House has maintained its integrity. The Detroit Salvage Warehouse was one such group which had been in talks with the state regarding this program. Let's see if the State can figure out how to put some of the citizens in this "far east side" neighborhood back to work with the new program of deconstruction. With the overwhelming number of empty homes in disrepair and the large amount of unemployed people needing jobs... It doesn't take much ingenuity to consider giving these contracts to the people that need it most and not these large demolition crews from the suburbs that do not appreciate the value of recycling building materials.
This digital photograph was shot a week ago. We will be processing the film from our large lighting set up this week. Stay tuned to see one of our final images in the near future.
You can continue emailing us your comments about the project, or leave a response to this post if you like.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
We also discovered how to equalize the temperature from the attic space to the outside air. The temperature was brought down from 42 degrees to 24 in a matter of minutes by creating a cross breeze. This should keep the top portion of the roof from melting every time the sun comes out. As of this morning, I am finally confident that our project will not melt by our Feb 7 date of completion. This is when we will make our location public.
Monday, February 1, 2010
During my time here I have explored the surrounding neighborhood extensively and I would estimate that nearly 1 in every 4 homes is either in a state of disrepair or completely abandoned. And although many have chosen to view these conditions with apathy, my point of view is one of optimism for the future driven by a sense of nostalgia for this neighborhood's past beauty. Amidst the soaring oaks that line these spacious blocks remains a modern and organic grid filled with possibilities that perhaps the fresh eyes of a new generation will bring to fruition. The Ice House project seeks to demonstrate that in much the same way -- as building materials are reclaimed from the many abandoned houses in Detroit, so to can the affected neighborhoods themselves be repurposed through the creativity, spirit, and sense of community clearly demonstrated by the residents themselves.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
This is really a sight to see! Check it out while it's still cold... If you're interested in contributing please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Friday, January 22, 2010
It also looks like we are expecting some colder weather to arrive in the next week. We are looking forward to the below freezing temperatures and completing the Ice House Detroit project shortly thereafter!
Sunday, January 17, 2010
It looks as if we'll be back to icing the house in the evenings this week. Our downtime has allowed us to create a much more automated system of water application, and our setup time is now only about 30 minutes. If you'd like to help out anytime this week, please email Greg or Matthew.
Friday, January 15, 2010
While I feel that the terminology "Saving Detroit" is a bit melodramatic, there are limitless organizations in Detroit that are toiling away on a daily basis to improve the general quality of life of everyone living here.
I talked with Carol from the Detroit organization ArtRoads this afternoon. She has been following our project, and saw that we were doing food and clothing drives. In association with this, she has made a contribution of blankets, and dropped them at the Detroit Rescue Mission.
Art Road Nonprofit
Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries
150 Stimson St
Detroit, MI 48201-2410
On Thursday I happened upon a southwest Detroit art opening and thought I would pop my head in. Interestingly enough, it happened to be a "Detroit Lives" art exhibition. My friend Jerry Paffendorf was selling square inches of the city for a dollar each -- a really interesting micro real estate concept called Loveland. It was also the premiere of the film "The Farmer and the Philosopher" which speaks of the fertile landscape of DIY potential in the city. It was such a refreshing experience to find myself in the midst of a very well attended event, full of young adults that all seemed to be highly activated with a sense of urban responsibility. Thanks to Philip Lauri and Aaron Timlin.
I was really taken by Vanessa Miller's photo interviews which pinpointed some of the many individuals making a difference in the city.
I’m a willing and active participant/resident/member of a burgeoning group. I am trying to fit in. I am listening to what’s going on and I’m slowly reinventing myself by doing so.
I am honored to work for East Michigan Environmental Action Council in Detroit with the Greener Schools Program. I’m investing in our schools and school buildings by helping create environmental labs, media labs, adventure playgrounds, and outdoor classrooms. Detroit schools are becoming centers of exploration, creativity, self-discovery, community, empowerment, and ACTION. This impacts our youth - they need an outlet for their brilliant minds. This impacts
our sense of place - we are nurturing our community and building for a self-sustaining future. This impacts our school closures - we want our students to have real reasons to stay in school, to look forward to going to school, to be needed. Most of all it’s impacting me - I work with incredible Detroit women, and from their passion and dedication I am inspired daily.
There are a lot of visionaries here, and I wouldn’t be here without them. However I’m more of a person of action - I like the visions and I want to make them real. If we listen to one another and are self-aware, motivated, and most importantly work collaboratively, I see positive things. I see a city and an economy that is inclusive and nurturing, united within itself, independent from outside money, and really fucking proud of itself.
I have always lived in Southeast Michigan and I love Detroit. I have lived in the city for four years. My family is here and most of my closest friends are people I have known since elementary school. I grew up immersed in local underground music, culture, politics and I feel very fortunate that I have been able to follow those passions to the present.
Currently, I work on two projects. I facilitated the process of bringing the Allied Media Conference (AMC) to its new, permanent location in Detroit in 2007, and I now serve as Operations Director for Allied Media Projects staff collective, the parent organization of the AMC.
In late 2007, I co-founded EMERGENCE Media with Invincible and Wes Taylor, and we have been releasing and promoting Invincible’s music and video nonstop ever since.
I also do some one-off consulting on various projects. One of the main side-projects I am working on right now is editing/admining BoggsBlog.org, which is a project of the Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership.
My expertise is in back-end operations especially project management and financial management. This is where visions are implemented into reality. Detroit is home to brilliant grassroots organizers and visionary artists. I help translate those visions into realistic budgets, project timelines and workplans.
One of my favoriate bands of all time CRASS said “It is essential that our dreams become reality or there will cease to be one.”
With school closings, lay-offs, foreclosures and utility shut-offs, and persistent crime, many Detroiters are facing a crisis where if we do not organize alternatives for our communities, life in the city will become increasingly unlivable.
There is so much that we can do for ourselves in Detroit without waiting on someone else to fix our problems for us. I think the future of Detroit is that we are going to invent a new kind of city based upon community media technology, urban agriculture and green building, music and creative visual culture, alternative education, and restorative justice. We have a lot of building ahead of us.
I recently left the Detroit limits to move to Hamtramck into a house that has been in my family for over 50 years.
I am the founder of Recycle Detroit, which is an organization that supports recycle initiatives in SE Michigan. We have been responsible for helping change the city of Detroit’s recycling contract in 2007. Collaborating with other organizations to hold cleanups in the city and recycling city festivals have been other type of events that we’ve taken on. Supporting the community of Detroit is important to us, because that is what drives sustainability. If we know we are in together than there will be more participation. This is the probably the most gratification, besides seeing recycling results that I get doing community outreach in Detroit. Recycle Detroit is still in its infancy stage. We focus on getting our hands dirty to promote environmental management. It seems to work for us when we lead by example.
We tend to take problem areas and make them a viable project by the time we are done. Cass Park is a perfect example. It is in the historical district of the Cass Corridor. The park is known to be feeding ground for church groups and the homeless. Both trash and community members find refuge in the park. We have found that there is no accountability to maintain the cleanliness of the park from those who use it for whatever reason. Neighbors have taken responsibility, but not the entire community as a whole. Recycle Detroit decided to take Cass Park underneath its wing. Synergies have occurred in Cass Park because of the initiative. Men’s Health Magazine worked Recycle Detroit in the Fall of 2007 to do a clean up in the park and built five fitness stations for the community. April 18, 2009 will be the 3rd annual Earth Day cleanup. The organization will not only clean up the park, but they will also go down the block and help out the Detroit Veteran’s Center in which their services are needed. Last week, Recycle Detroit worked with BuildOn, a youth organization to recycle the DVC’s old computers and unused donated clothing. Recycle Detroit feels the organization’s strengths are networking with other projects and groups to promote a quality of life in the city in which everyone can participate.
I never had imagined that my passion for trash would have influenced as many people as it has. I honestly thought I was just going to hold a monthly neighborhood recycling collection. Probably the most bizarre impact was the city contract. The city of Detroit improved their recycling program, which hadn’t changed in 17 years. Even though Recycle Detroit is no longer affiliated with the business who continues to hold the contract, we feel it more than necessary to take part of the credit for the change.
Businesses have benefited from my research (not always by choice), to the point they are now profiting.
WSU has hired me in 2008 to help organize their recycle program. Spring 2008, WSU placed over 600 recycling containers throughout the campus. Wayne State is now slowing seeing improvements.
A good example would be since the Fall of 2008 they have diverted over 25,000 pounds of paper from the waste stream. Recycle Detroit will recycle the Movement 2009, Dally in the Alley 2009, and continue to help organizations and businesses with their recycle needs.
I hope that the citizens who are paying attention to their personal impact to the environment will also be active in the public policy of Michigan and Detroit’s waste stream to be sure that the most sustainable and affordable forms of technology and collection systems are being used. The reality is not everyone will be proactive, so stewardship needs to be promoted from all levels in order for society to see results.
Unfortunately at times, big business rules Michigan’s waste stream.
A place of cooperation of community based values with entrepreneurs and community organizations who will localize crucial life systems, such as urban agriculture, literacy, public education, environmental management, mental health support, transparent political system, mass transit, and affordable health care. These components will begin to make Detroit and the state of Michigan look attractive to outside industries and individuals to move their efforts here. Detroit will always be the hub for change. If the mentioned about services become available at an affordable rate, then there will be results of change to soon follow. At risk community members would then become more productive, because they wouldn’t have to worry about meeting their basic needs. These same people will be able to focus on having a life, instead surviving life. This in return will create Detroit has a city of regeneration not degeneration.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Two days ago, Larry, our water guy, came by with 6000 gallons of water. After some trial and error we ended up using a large hose to mist the house for our initial Ice test. Lucky for us, Tom Stoye, Rosie Sharp, and Tim Nutt showed up for some support for this endeavor. By Midnight, 18 degrees had become 10. Tim and I decided to let others rest and carry on until the morning. By 6am we had over an inch of ice covering the entire house and nearly an empty truck of water. We have learned that even with low temperatures the sun has more of an impact on the melting of ice. After a 22 hour day we regrouped, did an interview with a Swiss Public Radio correspondent, and were ready for more challenges... Our biggest will undoubtedly be the foreseeable forecast which is leading up to our shoot date. It looks as if we will have highs just above freezing with a spattering of sunny days...Hmmm.
Today we had a very nice meeting with Erica Hill from the Detroit Film Office, and some conversations with some of Detroit's finest fire fighters. Tomorrow we install a sprinkler system in the house, figure out how to tap / blow out a hydrant, and protect a large hose from the passing cars, German TV, and another all nighter with the hoses.
photo: Rosie Sharp
photo: Rosie Sharp
photo: Rosie Sharp
photo: Rosie Sharp
Saturday, January 9, 2010
It's very clear that the house has been squatted within the last several months judging by the mattresses, alcoholic beverage containers, and the dollar bill we found on the coffee table. All of the plumbing, electrical, and wiring of the house has already been scrapped, except for one piece of aluminum tubing in the basement, which was used by the squatters to have unregulated heat, bypassing the gas company's meter.
We're a little surprised that the house had initially been put on the demolition list, as the structure and walls are in decent condition, and it appears as if the roof has been replaced within the last year.
We have a lot of volunteers who will be working with us next week, but so far it's only been Gregory and I on site getting everything ready, which has been really nice. Next week, we will be providing soup and chili on site for people that are volunteering and those that are curious or hungry in the neighborhood, provided by United Peace Relief Detroit, and Greg's Mom and Aunt.
We're consulting with Greg's uncle Mike, a retired Ford Motor Company plumber, on the basics of assembling a system of water outlets we can use to ice the house off of a city hydrant. Also Larry our Water Guy will be coming over to the property tomorrow to consult with us in regards to ice coverage.
We appreciate all the press inquiries thus far, and we apologize for not being able to get back to you. With the current cold front hitting the city, we are very limited on time right now, and we are hoping to be able to respond to all of your calls and emails when preproduction is over.