Saturday, February 1, 2014

Building Detroit - Art in the Streets

From Colin M. Day
and MoCA TV

In Detroit, Michigan, where economic demise has forced the city to shrink and turn its back on empty homes and properties, a community of artists thrives by continuing its rich tradition of building. Under the auspice of Power House Productions, a local nonprofit which supports neighborhood revitalization, Oakland artist Monica Canilao transforms a dilapidated Victorian into an aesthetic object straddling the worlds of street art and architecture. On the land surrounding his African Bead Museum, DABLS incorporates discarded construction material into his network of sculptures and installations. And in his backyard, a former General Motors employee named Dmytro Szylak continues to build and tinker with a massive visionary environment which evokes both the auto plant and his own Ukrainian heritage. The factories are closed, but the desire to work remains.

Shot & Directed By Colin M. Day.
Edited by Albert Lopez & Nicolette Hagan.
Sound Mix by Jack Fusting.
Produced by Ethel Seno & Richard Enriquez.
Music Director Nic Notion.


Powerhouse Project: Monica Canilao, Richard Coleman, Swoon, Saelee Oh, Retna, Ben Wolf.
African Bead Museum: DABLS
Hamtramck Disneyland: Dmytro Szylak
N'Kisi Concorde Filmmakers: Nikki Sass & Brittin Richter

Music by:

Nick Speed: "Streets of Detroit," "Rise to Greatness," "Trust Me"
The Reelers: "A Terrible Place," "Motherfuckers Dying in the Fire..."
Ron Zakrin: "Labor Intensive"

Special Thanks:

Jesse Cory, Roula David, Revok, Pose, Monica Canilao, George N'Namdi, Powerhouse Productions, DABLS, Nikki Sass, Brittin Richter, Matt Eaton, Nic Notion, Nick Speed, Craig Hejka, Oscar from the Block

Archival Footage:

"The Detroit You've Never Met," Produced by Detroit Olympic Committee, courtesy of Prelinger Archives
"The Harvest of the Years," Produced by Ford Motor Company, courtesy of Library of Congress
"FDR WW2 News Reel," courtesy of Prelinger Archives

Like New York City in the 1970s, modern day Detroit is a paradise for street art. The miles of unused facades and ample loads of refuse in this "bombed-out, dilapidated urban landscape" are grist for graffiti artists and writers from the United States and beyond. In this short film, Los Angeles artist REVOK discusses the creative community that has coalesced in Detroit, highlighting the fantastic assemblages he creates from abandoned houses and buildings, and collaborates with POSE to mount a tribute mural to local icon Sean Griffin, better known as NEKST, on the western facade and southern wall of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. Without local authorities policing or buffing their work, the city itself becomes an enormous canvas.

NEKST tribute painted by Revok, Pose, Omens, Vizie, Screw, Dont.

Featuring work by Nekst, Revok, Pose, Askew, Risk, Rime, Flying Fortress, Nychos, Decolonize.

Shot & directed by Colin M. Day. Edited by Tony Gonzalez. Audio mix by Steve Thorpe. Music director Nic Norton. Produced by Ethel Seno and Richard Enriquez.

Music: Ritual Howls: "Rosabelle Believe" and "Keep Those Stones Up Boys." Anonymous Touch: "D." Nick Speed: "Detroit City Blues."

Special Thanks: Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), Leto Rankine, Matt Eaton, Jesse Cory, George N'Namdi, Revok, Pose, 1xRun, The Seventh Letter, Noah Banks, Lyndon French, Ben Saginaw, Nikki Sass, DABLS, Roula David, Nic Notion, Nick Speed, Monica Canilao, Oscar from the Block, and the city of Detroit.

Made in Detroit.

MOCAtv and Colin M. Day Films.

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