Learning from Detroit

kerstin May 11th, 2013

Group show with: Mira Burack und Kate Daughdrill, jessica Care moore, Susan Goethel Campbell, Tyree Guyton (The Heidelberg Project), Scott Hocking, Steve Hughes, I.T.U. mit Danielle Aubert und Maia Asshaq, Karin Jobst, Chido Johnson, Living Archive FILTER DETROIT (Fieke van Berkom, Cordula Ditz, Nina Könnemann), Gilda Snowden, Submerge: featuring Underground Resistance, Corine Vermeulen

Exhibition May 24th-August 25th, 2013

Thursday, 23rd of May, 7pm,


Spoken Word Poetry Performance The Missing Project: Pieces of the D” by jessica Care moore and “Developments of Detroit Techno and the city’s influence on music and its artists” a DJ-Lecture by DJ, producer and sound designer Mike Huckaby

What does Wolfsburg and Detroit have in common? Both are so called “motowns” or “autocities” referring to their importance as manufacturing bases of the automobile industry. According to this fact their inhabitants depend in several aspects on the economic development of this industrial sector. The current economic situation of both cities show two different outcomes of urban evolution and two different approaches to deal with turning points in economic development. While Wolfsburg overcame the crisis by restructuring the Volkswagen-group and by renewing its concept of urban space the US-American Detroit copes with its economic decline in a very different way: The citizens are self-managing the crisis.

What precisely can we learn from Detroit, a city that has the reputation of a shrinking city par excellence? According to Robert Venturi’s book “Learning from Las Vegas”, which became an incunabulum of postmodern architecture and urban planning one could put the thesis that there is in fact much to learn especially from those sites which in contrary to their “bad” images find very original solutions for urban problems that seemed to be unsoluble. A shrinking population and the collapse of the infrastructure can offer a chance for new forms of communal life and collaboration or even of the entire society and lead to the conclusion that a smaller city could be a better city, particularly if the active commitment of the citizens is supported. Urban gardening and urban farming are popular in Detroit. Most citizens use the open space, the empty houses and former factory sites to assure their food self-supply or to turn it into art work and to experiment with it. The increasing number of this neighbourly community art projects equalises the build-up of a new branch of production in which the citizens determine the parameter of their quality of life themselves and shape them with artistic means.

The group show “Learning from Detroit“ provides an insight into the present artistic and cultural movement of the city. It presents not only long-term residents and new ones or short-term in Detroit living artists and artist-groups but also development-processes of cultural collaborations with non-artists. The city itself, its history as an industrial site and its changing, dynamic structure is the starting point and the substance for many of the shown artworks. Following his short stay in Wolfsburg Detroit-based artist Scott Hocking will develop an artwork that refers to both cities. Chido Johnson expands his artistic approach by offering a “Wire Cars-Workshop” to the citizens of Wolfsburg like he did before in Detroit. All in all there will be 12 artistic positions shown at two venues: the Kunstverein Wolfsburg located in the castle of Wolfsburg and the CITY GALLERY a smaller project space of the Kunstverein Wolfsburg in the city centre. The artworks contain the whole range of artistic media such as painting, photography, installations, sculpture and performance art. The group show “Learning from Detroit“ was developed in collaboration with FILTER a platform for international contemporary art based in Hamburg. Since three years initiator Kerstin Niemann manages a house on Moran Street under the name FILTER DETROIT which provides research residencies and is a place for exchange for artists, thinkers and other cultural professionals coming from in and outside Detroit. The project “Learning from Detroit“ is also a collaboration of the Kunstverein Wolfsburg and the Institute of Contemporary History and Citymarketing (IZS) as a part of the celebration activities of the 75th anniversary of Wolfsburg. The framework program organized by the IZS includes different DJ-acts (Detroit-Techno, Motown-Soul etc.), an urban gardening-day, a screening of citymarketing image films and a reading about the structural development of Detroit. Lokale Liaison – the education program of the Kunstverein Wolfsburg cooperates with the IZS for the development of a research exhibition that will be presented at space for friends at the Kunstverein Wolfsburg.

With kind support of:

Niedersächsiches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur

U.S. Consulate General Hamburg

WOB Wächst Mit Mir

Beeindruckend Jung 75 Wolfsburg

Educational program and extra activities: Learning from Detroit

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the city of Wolfsburg the Kunstverein Wolfsburg, the Institute for Contemporary History and City Marketing (IZS) and FILTER DETROIT invite you to the exhibition “Learning from Detroit” and its extra activity program. This collaborative project examines with different subjects and activity formats developments, commonalities, and differences of these two Motor Cities, Detroit and Wolfsburg, outside of their auto manufacturing backgrounds.

Saturday 25th of May, 10 am -4 pm

“Wire Car” Workshop and artist talk with Detroit artist Chido Johnson

Location: Kunstverein Wolfsburg (please register for the workshop)

Wednesday, 5th of June 2013, 7pm

Motown or how assembly line workers invented soul

Music and talk with Thorsten Skowronski (Sauna-Klub) and Justin Hoffmann (director, Kunstverein Wolfsburg)

Location: City Gallery, Wolfsburg

Friday, 7th of June 2013, 10 pm

FIFTYFIFTY presents – House Music ON –

The label FIFTYFIFTY presents three DJ’s and a surprise guest.

Location: Rizz Club Wolfsburg, Heinrich-Nordhoff-Straße 71, 38440 Wolfsburg

Thursday, 13th of June 2013, 7pm

Cities and the moving image – municipal marketing- and image films in comparison

Screening of different image films from Detroit (City on the Move, 1965) and Wolfsburg (Wolfsburg – die Stadt“, 2011) The subsequent talk will be with Katrin Minner, historian (Münster); Peter Stettner, manager of the cultural archives at the University of Hanover; Ali Altschaffel, filmmaker and photographer in Wolfsburg.

Moderation: Anita Placenti-Grau, Manager of IZS, Günter Riederer, IZS

Location: Antoniensaal Schloss Wolfsburg

Thursday, 27th of June 2013, 7pm

“Rasende Ruinen (engl. racing ruins)” – What Wolfsburg can learn from Detroit?

Reading and talk with Katja Kullmann (author, Rasende Ruinen) and Martina Heßler (professor for social, economic and technical history at the Technical University in Hamburg). A moderated talk will be conducted by Justin Hoffmann (director, Kunstverein Wolfsburg) and Günter Riederer (IZS)

Location: Schloss Wolfsburg

Sunday, 11th of August, 3pm

Gardening friends in Wolfsburg and Detroit

Lectures and talks about the garden plot movement and urban gardening with Johann B. Walz – development of the German garden plot movement, Andreas Main – urban gardening/ farming in Detroit, Tim Fahse – garden project, the plantation – Space for Growing in Hattorf, Friedrich Grünberg – gardening plot foundation Fallersleben Ost e.V.

Moderation: Anne Kersten

Location: Kleingärtnerverein Fallersleben Ost e.V.

Friday, 16th of August till Sunday 25th of August

Opening: Thursday, the 15th of August, 6pm

Exhibition: Wolfsburg-Detroit Research

Art works from the exhibition “Learning from Detroit” are the point of departure for the research of trainees from different Wolfsburg companies as well as students from the Eichendorffschule, the Hoffmann-von-Fallersleben-Realschule as well as the vocational schools. Participation, new organizational structures, unions and the idea of the community will be examined and mapped by the participants. The result of this active on-site research will be presented in form of mixed media installations at the Space for Friends (Raum für Freunde) at the Kunstverein.

Location: Raum für Freunde, Kunstverein Wolfsburg

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