DI at MOCAD—Writing the Essay, Different Data


Yesterday, we (Joshua Singer, Rachele Riley, Dan McCafferty) arrived at MOCAD in Detroit. We started to work on our contribution to the DesignInquiry DesignCity DEPE Space residency exhibition. Josh is mapping urban graphic language (typography, visual signs, graphics) and its connection to a process of gentrification. This map extends the research focus of his Ad-Hoc Atlas. During the drive back from our presentation at Michigan State University, Josh said that gentrification was:

“…the ecological process of successive displacement of cultural and economic groups and interests where one powerful group displaces the next, the previous group preparing the environment for the next, enabling, voluntarily or involuntarily, their own demise.”

Rachele is working with data collected by Data Driven Detroit (D3) in their recent ‘Motor City Mapping Parcel Survey.’ She is mapping spaces described in the D3 report as ‘unknown’ (Their use is unknown). She hopes to reveal why a map of unknown spaces might be useful. What is the best way to visualize the potential that lies in these kinds of gaps? Are they all the same? Why is their use ‘unknown?’ Does it relate to abandonment, or what other transitions can be observed? This map extends her research and creative project The Evolution of Silence which maps the activity of war, a restricted and secretive area, and transformation over time.

With these maps, we hope to generate knowledge and to develop a methodology for discovery that can extend to other cities and places. More updates will follow.

Here are some pictures from the DEPE space residency at MOCAD as it appeared on Monday. All participants are adding to a growing installation of work. Here you see work by Ben Van Dyke, Rebecca Tegtmeyer, and others—including a video by Rachele that animates post-it notes from the February expedition, mixed with video capture made from Josh’s Detroit dérive:

We added a 360 degree view of Detroit radiating out from MOCAD. Josh stitched together screen shots from Google earth for the print: