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Detroit 'Porn' a Hit in Rotterdam...

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Mar 1st, 2016, 11:55 AM
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Detroit 'Porn' a Hit in Rotterdam...

and will be moved to a permanent home in Antwerp,Belgium where visitors can see a bit of the blight that permeates today's third-worldish Detroit.

The 'porn' refers to showcasing the ruins and decline of Detroit, once one of the most prosperous cities in the world when its auto industry was at its height,until the 1950s or so - ever since 'white flight' as well as 'black flight' to the wealthier newer suburbs has left basically only the poorerst of the poor in today's Detroit's declining neighborhoods. The number of abandoned houses is staggering with little funds to demolish literally many thousands of them - many now of which are burnt out empty hulks only hinting at former gentility.

And now an American artist living in Europe has taken one such derelict house and moved every piece of it (at quite a heft cost) to Europe - first putting it on show at a Rotterdam Art Show, where apparently it was quite a hit,and now to its permanent home in Antwerp.

The whole thing has sparked controversy in showcasing Detroit's dismal state - thus the 'Detroit Porn' label on it and many other burgeoning efforts to just show the world how far a once regal city can fall - now kind of resembling Hiroshima after the bomb in many precincts - oh well to see a wee bit of awful Detroit head to Antwerp where the house will be on permanent display it seems.

http://www.freep.com/story/entertain...porn/80754212/
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Mar 1st, 2016, 05:46 PM
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As a Detroit area resident, I wish these "artists" would go away. There are many reasons Detroit declined and it could happen to a good many American cities. We are seeing a turnaround in our downtown and midtown areas but it will take many years to take care of the whole city. These artists who love to flock to the area are just like gawkers at accident scenes. They do no good and just slow down the rescue work in "a wee bit of awful Detroit" as you seem to enjoy describing.
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Mar 1st, 2016, 07:35 PM
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"thus the 'Detroit Porn' label"

I've never heard the term Detroit Porn before. It's not a label that exists. "Ruin porn" is a commonly used term, has been for a long time, nothing new.

As far as controversy over this kind of thing, I do not see how it is harmful. It is just a slice of the truth, it is history and it is present. Nothing to hide or lie about, it is what it is. If it creates conversation about how this can happen to a once powerhouse city then I don't see how that is a bad thing.
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 02:33 AM
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When General Motors closed a factory of its subsidiary Opel in Bochum, the local theatre made a performance titled "This is not Detroit". Detroit is well known in Europe and, yes, we have a lot of Detroit Porn here, even a couple of books written by European journalists and researchers about Detroit.

But it is not schadenfreude, we Europeans are lookings for sparks of hope and recovery in Detroit (because we also have our share of shrinking cities).

An artists' activities may create some hope. Artists usually move in where they can live and work cheaply. But they may attract a wealthier crowd of customers and agents and help to create a turnaround.

rfbk50, I am honestly interested in the turnaround of Detroit. Please tell us a bit more about the "rescue work". What does work and what does not?
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 06:36 AM
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Again, Detroit Porn is not an existing term in this context. Detroit Porn refers to something very, very different.
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 10:59 AM
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rfbk50, I am honestly interested in the turnaround of Detroit. Please tell us a bit more about the "rescue work". What does work and what does not?>

very little - still have thousands of abandoned houses to tear down - some trying to make an urban forest and farming- downtown Deeetroit is rather booming but the Detroit around it - the neighborhoods are seeing little change but deteriorating even more - artists are flocking there though - pop over 2,000,000 in its heyday of 1950s now down to perhaps 600,000 and shrinking - no one wants to send kids to Detroit schools - some wealthy folks live in certain enclaves and send kids to private schools - Detroit has a LONG way to go:

https://www.google.com/search?q=detr...w=1920&bih=955

I grew up in the Detroit suburbs and we always went shopping downtown at Hudson's until suburban malls were built - it was a very thriving city until the 60s - the 1965 riots spurred the white flight into a torrent.

Worst of all folks outside Detroit could care less and don't want their moneys sent there to help out.

Sad!
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 11:50 AM
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Yes as Pal said downtown is rather booming. The vast space around it though has a loooooong way to go. There are some good programs making good progress, it's just that there is so very much to do. It will take a long time. But at least the ship has been mostly righted at this point, no longer veering off course or off the edge of the world.

The school system is abysmal and that is a major road block to attracting residents. City services are also lacking but I think many young metro detroiters are willing to rough it in that regard & move in. When it's time for them to have kids though they move out. Way out. Way past the city limit and several suburbs away to much more expensive housing.
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 12:02 PM
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Everytime I drive thru Detroit - off the freeways - into the deteriorating neighborhoods I am saddened and ashamed that this, the U S A has such a third-world enclave and no one really cares it seems and Detroit is not alone just grabbing the most attention - yet the widespread scope of the ruins is unparalleled - birth death rates at a third-world level - lots of good people are trying and giving their time at clinics, etc but drugs and sports are still seen by many younger ones as the way to make money - not education.

Charter schools, siphoning off the cream of the crop have left the public schools are pure sham with the worst of the worst problems - Detroit schools have to spend tons of money on security - metal detectors at doors, guards, etc - maybe Bill Gates and his fund should give some of their charity money to Detroit as well as Africa.
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 12:25 PM
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It is very sad in deed. Such a legacy city in this condition. That is why I generally don't mind ruin porn - go ahead, show it, talk about it! For the city & its citizens to be cast aside & forgotten is more shameful & sad in my eyes.

And ugh-the charter school disaster, maddening!
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 12:29 PM
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Sadly past mayors and administrators also looted the city and more than a few were corrupt as African dictators. Kwahme Kilpatrick is a former mayor still in the slammer. Hizzoner Coleman Young and his cronies got away with it however.

A heck Go Tigers!
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 12:38 PM
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My French neighbors who came by this evening had heard about this exhibit, though not called Detroit Porn, and thought it very interesting. I don't have a problem with any artist doing much of anything, and I think it's a rather creative way of bringing attention to how places once grand and thriving can just crumble into anonymity and rubble based on poor decisions As someone in our group mentioned tonight, "without artists, there is no history." I think it will strike a chord with the Dutch and other Europeans.

Was it here on Fodors's that I saw a comparison of lead in the Romans' water supply leading to the ruin of the Roman Empire and the Flint Michigan water supply issue? I can't remember, but it struck a chord with me.
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 01:37 PM
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>> leading to the ruin of the Roman Empire <<

The Roman Empire was never ruined. It still exists. Today, it is called "Roman Catholic Church". No kidding.
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 01:40 PM
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Hail Caesar Francis!
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Mar 3rd, 2016, 09:28 AM
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First of all, let me give you an idea of size and scope of the problems we have in Detroit. You can take San Francisco, Boston and Manhattan and put them in our city limit and still have land left over. Detroit is huge so a recovery is not going to be fast. The reasons Detroit declined are many. Loss of manufacturing jobs, the riot in 1967, drugs and crime and the breakdown of the family. We have had city officials who took advantage of their positions and are now in jail.

My problem is with "artists" who come and exploit what they see in the name of art and don't give a balanced picture of the good things that are starting to happen in the city. Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans has bought scores of buildings in downtown and is rehabbing them. Downtown condos are sold before the buildings are completed. There are waiting lists for apartments. Young entrepreneurs are starting tech firms. There are new restaurants opening every week. A new state of the art hockey arena is being built. A light rail system is being built to connect downtown with midtown. We have Eastern Market which is the largest, oldest farmers market in the country alive with tens of thousands of people every Saturday. On Mondays evening all summer, we have the Slow Roll where hundreds of people ride their bikes all around the city. You might google Detroit Riverwalk to see photos of our beautiful riverfront where people enjoy the river with our view of Canada or bring their family to play in the splash pad or enjoy the carousel or rent a bike. We have the largest island city park, Belle Isle, which the state took over to repair and refurbish and is now once again a place where families picnic and gather all year long. The oldest aquarium in the country in on Belle Isle along with a huge conservatory.

That is the good but there is still the bad. Yes, we have the worst school district in the country. When you don't have a tax base because all of the middle class families have left, there is no money left for school. How do you keep a neighborhood school open when there aren't enough kids to fill it. Until we get the school situation under control, we will not have families moving into the city. But we have hope because Detroit has a new mayor who has done wonders. The judge who guided Detroit through bankruptcy is now is charge of the school system and hopefully, he can guide the system in the right direction. Yes we have crime but which big city doesn't. There are what I consider three rings in Detroit. The Downtown/Midtown are which is thriving. Then you have a ring of truly vacant land. You can stand at an intersection and not see a building for a mile in any direction. This is the area that a company planted a tree farm and we have people doing urban farming. The last ring is the outermost area of the city with the blighted vacant homes and families who struggle to survive. Yes there are areas of the city that are not safe and I will not go, but that does not keep me away from the city I grew up in.

What I tried to give you is an honest picture of what is happening in Detroit but it is frustrating when people only get one view. Yes, everyone around the world knows what happened to Detroit so lets stop and get on with correcting the situation. What makes the Detroit Porn exhibit especially bad is the fact that the artist is not from Detroit. In fact, he hasn't even lived in the US for over 20 years so what gives him the "right" to point fingers and say "look what happened in Detroit. Aren't I smart for leaving the country" He might say he just wanted to shed light on the situation, but I think that is a bunch of baloney, to put is mildly. I'm sure he is loving his moment in the spotlight and I will let you know when the city receives the money raised from the exhibit that he says he is going to donate.
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Mar 3rd, 2016, 10:04 AM
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Thank you for your first-hand information.
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Mar 3rd, 2016, 10:07 AM
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He's an artist. He doesn't have to live in Detroit to use it as a representative example of a city in decline, and he doesn't have to contribute to your economy. He obviosuly hits a nerve with you, but you can't go legislating what artists see, how they interpret it, or what they do with it. He probaby IS smart for leaving the country.
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Mar 3rd, 2016, 10:17 AM
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As far as contributing to our economy, he said he wanted to give back to our community in an article I read. I'll let you know when we get the check. Sure he has a right to his art, if that is what you want to call it. But at what point is a city not in decline but on a uprise.
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Mar 3rd, 2016, 10:29 AM
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There are other ways of giving back than purely monetary ones.
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Mar 3rd, 2016, 10:33 AM
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<>

That's not an artist's problem. And did he promise you a check, specifically, or just that he'd "give back to your community?" There's a difference. Big difference.
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Mar 3rd, 2016, 10:39 AM
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If you read the article in the original post, he said he wanted to ship additional house facades to Europe where he would auction them off and then send the money back to Detroit. Those are his words, not mine.
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