the "D", "D" doesn't really stand for "Detroit",
but "Demolition." Take a look around and you'll notice a great number
of buildings marked on the front with a circled "D" in faint chalk.
Off to the side, many of these same buildings will also have a noticeable dot,
courtesy of our own native son, Tyree Guyton. These dotted buildings have stood
for so long that they have become, arguably, the most memorable landmarks of our
In addition to Tyree Guyton, Detroit has had more than its fair
share of artists who have taken notice of this situation and done something about
it. Recently, however, we have taken up a particular project that has actually
netted results - faster than anyone, especially us, could have anticipated.
artistic move is simple, cover the front in Tiggeriffic Orange - a color from
the Mickey Mouse series, easily purchased from Home Depot. Every board, every
door, every window, is caked in Tiggeriffic Orange. We paint the facades of abandoned
houses whose most striking feature are their derelict appearance.
drive would show you some of our most visible targets.
Just off I-75, around
the Caniff/ Holbrook exit, on the west side, towers a three story house, saturated
so deeply in orange that it reflects color onto the highway with the morning sun.
Also, on the east side of the highway by the McNichols exit, is another house
screaming orange. In that same area, where the Davison Highway and John C Lodge
M-10 Highway intersect, sit a series of two houses painted orange, most visible
from the Lodge side. In our only location not visible from the highway, on the
Warren detour between 94 and 96 on Hancock Street, sat a house so perfectly set
in its color that it garnered approval from the Detroit Police Department.
of four locations have already been demolished. Of the four, the building on Dequindre,
by the Caniff/ Holbrook exit, remains, as does the site that intersects the Lodge
and Davison. There was no "D" on any of the façades, only burnt
boards, broken glass, and peeling paint. Rallying around these elements of decay,
we seek to accentuate something that has wrongfully become part of the everyday
So the destruction of two of these four houses raises a number
of interesting points. From one perspective, our actions have created a direct
cause and effect relationship with the city. As in, if we paint a house orange,
the city will demolish it. In this relationship, where do the city's motivations
lie? Do they want to stop drawing attention to these houses? Are the workers simply
confused and think this is the city's new mark for demolition? Or is this a genuine
response to beautify the city?
From another perspective, we have coincidently
chosen buildings that were set to be demolished within the month. However, with
so many circled "D"s on buildings, it seems near impossible that chance
would strike twice.
In any case, what will be the social ramifications of
these actions? Each of these houses serves within the greater visual and social
landscape of the city. If the city doesn't rebuild, will it be better to have
nothing there rather than an abandoned house? In addition, each of these houses
served as a shelter for the homeless at some point in time. Now there are, at
least, two less houses for them. Why didn't the city simply choose to renovate?
Everything affects not only our experience now, but also that of the next generation.
before they are all gone, look for these houses. Look at ALL the houses in Detroit.
If you stumble upon one of these houses colored with Tiggeriffic Orange, stop
and really look. In addition to being highlights within a context of depression,
every detail is accentuated through the unification of color. Broken windows become
jagged lines. Peeling paint becomes texture. These are artworks in themselves.
you see a house that you would like to see painted orange, paint it. Afterwards,
email the good people at thedetroiter.com at firstname.lastname@example.org.
buildings aren't scenery. Don't look through or around them. Take action. Pick
up a roller. Pick up a brush. Apply orange.
The dialogue is going. Our goal
is to make everyone look at not only these houses, but all the buildings rooted
in decay and corrosion. If we can get people to look for our orange while driving
through the city, then they will at the same time, be looking at all the decaying
buildings they come across. This brings awareness. And as we have already seen,
awareness brings action.
the DDD project