"I am a Detroiter," "I'm from the Midwest,"
"I'm an American."
How we think of ourselves is inextricably linked to where we come from
-home plays a large part in shaping our identities. So what happens
when a home is uprooted from its original environment? Does the home
retain its original character or does it take on the identity of its
new surroundings? What if the house is moved between communities as
disparate as affluent Birmingham and Detroit?
what three Cranbrook Masters of Architecture candidates hope to uncover
with a new exhibition at Detroit's Tangent Gallery. Jeff Rawlins, Bradford
Watson, and Michael Zebrowski reverse the direction of sprawl by taking
a home from Birmingham and moving it to the Tangent Gallery in Detroit.
make this journey possible, the artists spent two weeks disassembling
the small two-family house in Birmingham without the use of heavy machinery.
Parts of the house will be rebuilt and installed for exhibition in the
gallery with some of the pieces becoming permanent fixtures of Tangent,
thus incorporating a piece of Birmingham in Detroit.
Had the entire house been moved in one piece on a truck, it would simply
have been a matter of a home displaced. Had the operation included entirely
dismantling the home and totally rebuilding it somewhere else, the resulting
structure would be something new altogether. By disassembling and reconfiguring
the house, the project becomes one of metamorphosis - the transformation
of a suburban house into an urban art gallery.
the exhibition, video and photographs documenting the process from takedown
to reconstruction will accompany the actual remains of the home. Since
opening, the Tangent Gallery has been committed to revitalizing the
art community and through it, the larger community of Detroit. By examining
the interaction of identity and place, Rawlins, Watson, and Zebrowski's
exhibition should offer insight into the ongoing transformation of Detroit's
- Nick Sousanis