Tuesday, March 30, 2010

This Is F-ing Awesome!

This morning's blog reading turned up this fascinating story about an art project taking place this winter in a blighted part of Detroit, NY. Thanks to James Ponerantz, author of the A Photo Student Blog for the heads up on the project.

The Ice House Detroit Project is a collaborative effort by architect Matthew Radune & photographer Gregory Holm in Detroit, New York. Planned as both an architectural installation as well as a social change project, the two collaborators took one of 20,000 abandoned houses in the area and, over the course of several days, painstakingly encased the entire house in ice using industrial sized hoses attached to either a portable water tanker truck or a nearby hydrant. The results... an eyesore turned into magnificent dreamscape. From Art in America, Daniel Fuller wrote on 3/20/10:

The vacant home they covered with ice was a grimy white house with a broken chain fence, plywood-covered windows, and shrubs reminiscent of something Gordon Matta-Clark might have chosen to deconstruct. For several bitter cold weeks, often from dawn to dawn, the duo could be found circling the house with an industrial hose system hooked up to either a water tanker truck or the street’s hydrant. The visual result was stunning. Spraying the sharply pitched roof, the water flowed down the sides, freezing the porch, the front steps and the unruly horticulture around the house. The landscape glistened in the reflection of the sun, and icicles formed like stalactites, with the emotional indexical resonance of a Pollock drip or immersive vertical of a Barnett Newman zip. The ice was so thick that blades of grass began to resemble stubby, glassy fingers.

Neighborhood residents flocked to have their photos taken in front of the house. The architectural installation morphed into a destination, an informal gathering spot for a cup of hot chocolate and conversations. It is easy for exhibitions in blighted areas to feel condescending, and this one took great risks by looking like the outsider art intallations-cum-tourist attractions that dot the Midwest. But Holm and Radune ingratiated themselves early by opened lines of dialogue and funding a food and clothing drive for those in need. Consummate hosts, neighbors responded by serving as community liaisons, quick with an account of the districts heydays and a verbal tour of the surroundings.

You can learn more about the project by going to the Ice House Detroit Blog found HERE.

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