The city of Detroit is very historic. During the 19th century the city of Detroit generated its own industrial revolution. Visionary engineers and entrepreneurs flocked to its borders. During the 1920’s Detroit saw monumental sky scarpers and fancy neighborhoods pop up everywhere representing the city’s wealth and becoming the beacon of the American Dream. Thousands of people flocked towards the city, with an amazing population of 2 million people making Detroit the 4th largest city in the united states by the 1950’s.
Deindustrialization and segregation increased and in 1967, social tension exploded into one of the most violent urban riots in American history. After which the population decreased and whole neighborhoods began to vanish. Outdated buildings emptied and within fifty years Detroit lost more then half of its population. The city of Detroit played a fundamental role in shaping the modern world. The logic that created the city also destroyed the city.
The words of Marchand and Meffre describe the city’s ruins so perfectly:
‘Nowadays, unlike anywhere else, the city’s ruins are not isolated details in the urban environment. They have become a natural component of the landscape. Detroit presents all archetypal buildings of an American city in a state of mummification. Its splendid decaying monuments are, no less than the Pyramids of Egypt, the Coliseum of Rome, or the Acropolis in Athens, remnants of the passing of a great Empire.’
These photographs taken by Marchand and Meffre of the ruins in Detroit were the basis for my future generations project. I really liked the idea that these photographs represent the past generations threw the architecture and the social statements.
My take on the future generations project is attempting establish the previous historic movements in time that have changed the world. In both an industrial change and a political change.
One of the questions on the brief asks: what do we mean by beauty?
In my eyes the finding the beauty in dereliction is lovely. I like the idea that a building that once held purpose for supporting people’s jobs/incomes, can one day just be left behind. This building probably holds a lot of memory’s and artefacts, perhaps old documents or furniture. And since closing maybe people have entered illegally leaving foot prints or marks behind. I think the beauty comes from each memory someone left behind. I also adore the architecture of the Farwell building that was built in 1915. As it is centred around a shaft of light going threw all eight levels. This specific piece of architecture you could argue could be the idea of preserving energy to go along with the future generations project.
With this in mind I created two prints from my favourite photographs to represent the structures of the buildings. I wanted to create wall hangings for my final piece, using recycled fabrics to go along with the theme of future generations and preserving what’s already around us. I went to a local charity called re create, who raise money to help the local community be more creative. There I found some beautiful printed fabric with blues and greens and decided to use this as the basis/colour scheme of my work.
The first week I started, Steve was out sick, so I decided to start stitching into the fabric with the first print. After stitching it I decided to applique on some fabric, which I thought it looked really nice. A week later Steve arrived back and I decided to get lots of screen printing done at once. I decided to go over my design with a grey. However due to the different textures and layers, my first attempt at a clean screen print didn’t work so well. I was so un happy with how it looked. Steve told me to try use foil over the top so that the grey would look like a shadow. which I thought looked really nice. I was so pleased with the final result. I then screen printed in grey, green white and some more foil so I had lots to work with when I returned to stitch the next week.
I started to sample some other methods of stitch onto my chosen fabrics and prints. I attempted outlining the print, Free machine embroidery to fill in some of the shapes, applique with my chosen fabric to add colour, fringing to add texture and I also attempted to stitch out collections of prints that I had already made using Photoshop. I assumed there would have been an easier way to print a design onto fabric without using screen print. But Steve in the print room said the only way he had access to, way going to add a layer onto the fabric which would change the texture, and that wasn’t a good idea.
After testing these methods, I I chose my favorites and applied them onto one piece of fabric. I was overall really impressed with the finished design of the piece. I thought the pale colour’s complimented silver foil nicely and the mirroring image I thought made the piece easy to look at.
I then went on to try stitching down a printed pattern onto the fabric, but when it started to pucker I gave up and moved on to attempting a similar method onto the second print. After finding out there was no foil left over to use I decided I would try fill the area in with machine embroidery in a metallic silver thread. The texture is rough but I think adds a different quality to the design. I then also went on to add some fringing in the middle in a line, and doubled it up to brighten the piece up a little. Because the green was very bight and the technique added a new different texture. I thought this was a good idea because recently we learnt these new techniques, I wanted to include some in my new work instead of just continuing with the last terms techniques. I think for my final show I will hang my Final two pieces up next to each other, because they work nicely together as a collection because they have similar colour’s, textures and techniques. Plus, the subject matter works well together. I’m overall really pleased with this terms work. However, I didn’t complete as many as I wanted, I am happy these two are completed to a high level.