Monday, 27 July 2009

Detroit: The Post-Apocalyptic Future of American Cities?

Detroit Housing Apocalypse
music by dETROITfUNK

"So here’s the scene. Imagine a 100-square blocks in a city on a hot summer night. Only one out of every twenty streetlamps is working, and even that is low-wattage. These lamps are broken and swinging back and forth in the wind. There’s rusted out steel drums lying here and there. Pyres of burning scrapwood. In the background there are shadowy figures darting in and out of buildings, trying to salvage anything or strip the remaining buildings of anything that’s worth anything.

"Since no electricity is being provided to these residents anymore, what this private management cum security company does is they bring in old water trucks. Then these water trucks are placed at certain locations during certain times. The people then totter down with their old plastic buckets and bottles to get their water.

"My friend said that what Detroit looks like now, particularly at night, is like a scene that you would see five or ten years after a Third World War. Everything is bulldozed, but it’s not all collected because there’s not much left after everyone has picked it apart. They just bulldoze it, chop it up and leave it in little piles. So imagine these little smoldering piles of rubble with these low wattage street lamps that are broken swinging back and forth. And don’t forget the rusted out water trucks bringing in water for the 'survivors,' what else can you call them? They also bring in food from various charitable organizations and distribute free food like Spam and week old bread etc. The residents (survivors) in order to get anything have to register with the private security company and get a card which must be presented to the authorities if you want to get any water etc."

From "Detroit: The Post-Apocalyptic Future of American Cities?" by Al Martin

"Detroit: The place to film low budget horror and post-apocalypse sci fi indie films"

"Pictures of Detroit"

"The largest group of non-locals participating in the representation of Detroit’s ruins consists of white suburbanites who left the city or whose parents and grandparents fled a generation or two ago. Their perception of Detroit’s abandoned structures seems initially to resemble German-Namibian colonial melancholy. Many follow a trail through the city’s ruins that conjures up the shattered Fordist metropolis in its golden age. They follow this path virtually via websites and books, or, in the preferred method, by automobile. Bookstores in Detroit’s suburbs carry shelves of paperbacks with sepia-toned covers published by Arcadia, an editor whose website describes its own books as being ‘pretty much all nostalgia'. These
volumes revisit the lost world of industrial prosperity and trace the arc of the city’s rise and fall. The volume on Detroit’s Statler and Book-Cadillac Hotels, for
example, concludes with a chapter called ‘The Hotels Today’ that describes their decay. The photograph of the Statler Hotel’s Grand Ballroom shows it littered with debris and with the ceiling collapsing. The caption accompanying this image reads: 'Once a center of activity, only the sound of passing People Mover trains breaks the silence’. The ballroom of the Book-Cadillac Hotel appears even more decrepit. The volume on Detroit’s abandoned train station concludes with photographs shot through broken windows and images of ‘ghosts of former travellers’ inside the ruin."

From "Harrowed landscapes: white ruingazers in Namibia and Detroit and the cultivation of memory" by George Steinmetz

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