contribution to Filter-Detroit

FILTER DETROIT is the little sister of FILTER; a platform for international contemporary art and culture.
FILTER DETROIT researches structural and cultural processes of transformation in the urban landscape of Detroit.
FILTER DETROIT is a research residence for artists and cultural producers and makers from Detroit and outside of Detroit.
FILTER DETROIT collaborates with Detroit’s cultural institutions and initiatives as well as internationally.

FILTER DETROIT is building up a living archive, a constantly transforming archive of information, documentation, knowledge, activity and space about urban interventions as well as social and artistic movements in Detroit and particularly on Moran Street in Detroit.

We got introduced to Kerstin Niemann by Luc and Bart, during our first visit to the Filter house in Moran Street.
After her invitation to contribute to the "live archive" of FILTER DETROIT, we started investigating what we could leave behind that would function as a manual for upcoming visitors and additionally work as a voice for all of the people we had encountered.

We therefore invited everyone we met to respond to the question of "how did you perceive our visit to Detroit".

For the last couple of years the city has become the center of attention for many social engaged artists and initiatives worldwide.

Detroit is not a blank canvas and every single attempt to represent its reality should be practiced with considerable thought and caution.

We received a small amount of contributions and decided make a small publication (one for FILTER DETROIT and one for EXPODIUM) in two copies.

All the contributions were placed unedited together with the following introductory text.

Dear Reader,

Attached to this letter you will find a series of contributions from the people we had encountered during our stay in Detroit. These following pages are the voice of a few. A few who are living and leaving, who belong and don't belong, a few who we have met in the 64 days spent in the city of Detroit.

We were here as the first artists in a residency initiated by Expodium Platform Voor Jonge Kunst (NL), 555 Gallery (US) and THE YES FARM (US).

As a response to the invitation of Kerstin to contribute to the living archive of the Filter Project, we decided to mediate what those that live here have thought, felt, believed, misunderstood, denied, accepted, dealt with and resolved, with our ephemeral stay.

We are aware that Detroit is not a blank canvas - that its inhabitants are fully capable of raising a critical voice and acting on matters imposed to their everyday lives. We asked the basic question of how do you perceive our temporary living in your community.

This passing through that promised only to deliver a gaze from an accidental tourist - a concerned one, a caring one, one under the weight of an ethics of the encounter with the other. Detroit’s past and its eminent future, with a complex present, filled with life and death, reveals a present cycle that promises so many potentialities. One cannot but dwell in daydreaming, a very hopeful dream.

In between illusion and delusion, in between the portrayal of Detroit as the post-industrial dystopia and Alice's Wonderland where every artists dream is possible, we found ourselves living with these people, and now we find ourselves leaving these people.

These contributions give a small but significant input to the problems of ephemeral living and practices of numerous visitors (artists, researchers, theoreticians etc.) in the Detroit area.

We put trust on people’s choice to express themselves through actions rather than words, through closed verbal encounters rather than public written contributions.

Therefore our call found place only within the ones who chose to formulate their opinions in that specific manner. Most of them chose the former rather than the later, but we feel strongly about maintaining that “literate” silence.

All contributions are placed unfiltered and unedited and should be treated with great respect in regards to each author.

We claim no authorship to the material and we expect any appropriation or use to occur under the full agreement of all the contributors. Whether you are a visitor or an inhabitant of the city, we invite you to flip through it, read carefully or discard it. We hope you have a fruitful stay and pleasant living.

Wishing you all the best,

Nikos Doulos & João Evangelista

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