Socio Cultural Movement(s)

kerstin November 5th, 2011

The Hinterlands (artist in residence FILTER Detroit), Chris Köver (guest resident) and neighbor Guido Marsille (artist in residence of the Power House Production project) chilling out on the porch after dancing.

Detroit resembles this living potpourri of different cultures and artistic agency that to the most part engages community. One may ask what do you mean by community? Good question – it is such an overused terminology for all sorts of contexts that it almost lost its meaning. In this case it is concerning the people that live in a city like Detroit and that shape and make Detroit.

End of May Kerstin Niemann and FILTER Detroit residency guest Chris Köver (Missy Magazin) experienced the Detroit Electronic Music Festival called Movement. An annual series of electronic dance music showcases held in Detroit since 2000. Thanks to the support of Underground Resistance we were able to access and witness old school and emerging acts of electronic dance music. An amazing experience seeing about 100.000 people invading the city center of Detroit.

Growing up with electronic music let us appreciate initiatives and acts as well as old-fashioned techno dress code obedient visitors of the festival. We enjoyed the most the adjacent acts and events that were taking place outside the festival territory. Derrick May organized an amazing art show at his place with artists such as Jessica Care Moore or mash street culture artist Mike Han. For the most part Omar-S blew our minds, he made us jump and dance all night at 1515 Broadway. By the way during daytime you can enjoy excellent Croissants and Café at 1515 Broadway.

But dancing makes hungry and we made sure to eat the good stuff. Thanks god Aladdins Sweets & Cafe is only 8 minutes walking from the FILTER Detroit residency on Conant Street. This Indian and Bangladeshi restaurant provides noutricious dishes and certainly sweets.

The Bangladeshi neighbors of FILTER Detroit are much more inclined in growing and cooking their own foods. Around lunch time you have these great mélange of home cooking scents in the air. Since the beautiful backyard of the FILTER Detroit residence provides space it was time to look into growing your own food. And it makes sense because Detroit somehow evolved into this Mecca for urban farming, so there are ways of starting out without knowing too much about gardening and without investing too much money into it.

Together with Liza Bielby (The Hinterlands), the residents of the FILTER Detroit residency I signed up for the Garden Resource Program in Detroit. Through urban gardening and agriculture projects they engage with community. They count ca. 15.000 urban gardeners in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park. As participants of this program we received practical advice, seeds (sunflower, chamomile, etc.) transplants (peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, etc) and were encouraged to volunteer and network into the neighborhood cluster programs. First of all Chris Köver and me built a small raised garden bed with four wooden timber posts and fresh garden mould. Liza and me hardened the transplants for about 48 hours and then planted the transplants and seeds end of May. Hoping that something will come out of it by late summer, fall.

Dutch Dinner Party - Photographer artist and long time Detroit resident Corine Vermeulen (of Dutch decend) as well as 9 weeks Dutch artist in residence Guido Marsille from the Power House Production project cooked for invited guests and neighbors.  Starter: Cheese hedgehog - than we neighbors were served a delicious “Stamppot met worst” (mashed potatoes with kale and meat balls) and certainly not missing desert. Welkom. I guess socio cultural projects start right there - across the street, with your neighbor or in your backyard…

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