Berlin 5th biennale,2008, 3.

The top floor of the KW Institiute was devoted to an installation by Tris Vonna-Michell about Detroit. We may think Stoke-on-Trent is blighted by industrial decay but the decay to be found in North Amerca is several orders of magnitude greater and grander – we’re talking log scales here!

A couple of years ago I had some free time in Detroit so set off for the Detroit Institute of the Arts. Within were the fantastic, huge murals by Diego Rivera, a paean to the working man. Looking more closely at some of the scenes howerver, they are far from idylic; almost dystopian and were hugely controversial at the time (1932 – 3).

The link to view very good photos of the four walls of mural:

What a sad irony is the devastation that surrounds this building; completely flat city blocks with occasional large, solidly built hulks left standing but all empty and in ruins as far as one can tell.

Then on into downtown, so bleak to european eyes. The Renaissance Centre (Ren Cen) just offices, no retail to be seen, only the occasional little lunch emporium. All new and clean and totally deserted. Such a place will be populated during office hours and then becomes echoing emptiness. There was talk of a new casino venture which it was hoped would bring flocking tourists and people to populate that little part of the city after business hours.


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