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A Tale of Two Citys -D Troit Comes to Manchester


Have been passed on word of a upcoming exhibition coming from US to Manchester soon, The exhibition originated at Gigantic Artspace, New York, and has been expanded for Urbis, Manchester. D Troit Curated By Trevor Schoonmaker Thursday 20 May to Sunday 18 July, 2004

The press release is below Website has more info, pics etc at http://www.urbis.org.uk/levelone.asp?page=134


D Troit Curated By Trevor Schoonmaker

Thursday 20 May to Sunday 18 July, 2004 at Urbis, Manchester.

D Troit is an exhibition that features ‘downloads’ of contemporary art, film and music from ten artists and one music journalist to examine the unique creative culture of the American mid-west city known as ‘Motown’, ‘The Motor City’, ‘Detroit Rock City’, ‘Techno City’ or simply ‘The D’.

D Troit makes powerful connections between the music, politics and social history of Detroit, featuring video, photography, illustration, contemporary visual art, paintings, lightboxes and an extensive music soundtrack, accessed through Apple iPods in one of the UK’s first uses of this new technology as an exhibition medium, to explore the tragic degeneration and the creative regeneration of Detroit. Ten artists and a music journalist use their connections to the city to make powerful personal and didactic statements about Detroit.


In the first half of the twentieth century, Detroit was the very model of the modern industrial city, a booming metropolis drawing a new labour force of poor southerners (often black) and immigrants in search of a good paying jobs in the city’s automotive industry. The brutal combination of ‘white flight’ from the city to the suburbs beginning in the 1950s, which further escalated after the 1967 race riots, when 43 people died, 1189 were injured and over 7000 people were arrested, the recession of the 1970s and the cutbacks in the automobile industry saw the decline of Detroit. Over that period, Detroit was transformed from a thriving city to an architectural shell of desolation and decay, as seen in Eminem’s film 8 Mile.

At the same time, Detroit is the birth place of some of the most exciting music being created anywhere in the world – the city is synonymous with a vast array of musical genres from the Blues, RnB, Berry Gordy’s Motown sound, punk, garage, rock, funk, techno, house and now, the sound of the blues-influenced White Stripes as well as a whole host of new independent bands like The Von Bondies and The Detroit Cobras.

D Troit features a 20 hour-long homage to Detroit’s musical heritage, specially created by expatriate Detroiter, the music journalist, Mike Rubin. Having written for Spin, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, GQ, The Village Voice, Rubin co-edited Motorbooty, the Detroit based independently published satirical journal described as ‘the only good fanzine in America’ and ‘the spy of the rock world’. Rubin’s epic journey through the rich archives of music with the ‘Made in Detroit’ brand features tracks from John Lee Hooker; Motown artists like Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Marvin Gaye; Aretha Franklin; The Stooges; Iggy Pop; MC5; Parliament; Funkadelic; Eminem; Kid Rock; The White Stripes; The Detroit Cobras right through to minimalist techno artists like Derrick May, Jeff Mills and Plastikman.

To complement the exhibition, displayed on the ground floor project space, Urbis has also commissioned a video project by DJ Elliot Eastwick, exploring the historical and contemporary musical influence of Detroit through a series of live interviews with British musicians, producers and DJs Elliot Eastwick comments, From cottonopolis to motor city, Manchester and Detroit are forever twinned in the eyes of Music lovers, my documentary film looks at the influences both cities musician’s have had on one another D Troit is curated by Trevor Schoonmaker.

The exhibition originated at Gigantic Artspace (GAS), New York, and has been expanded for Urbis, Manchester. The exhibition proved hugely popular with audiences, many new to visual art who were fascinated by the show’s musical credentials, and its opening party attracted the likes of David Byrne, founder of Talking Heads and Lee Renaldo of Sonic Youth. D Troit features the following artists: Susan Cook: Video montage of family home movies and 1967 race riot footage examines societal ambivalence and expectations and how the past, both real and subliminal, affect the present. Doug Coombe: current rocker and music photographer exhibits his haunting photographs from the off-limits interiors of the vast abandoned architecture from Detroit. Mark Dancey: Former rocker in the Detroit band, Big Chief and the co-founder of the influential underground culture and music fanzine, Motorbooty exhibits his celebrated satirical illustrations.

Andrew Dosunmu: accomplished music video director exhibits Hot Irons, a poignant documentary about the world of African-American hairstyling, as explained by five Detroit hairdressers in preparation for the "Hair Wars" convention. Tyree Guyton: Work from the Heidelberg Project, a community revitalization art installation, which has drawn international attention to the plight of Detroits forgotten neighbourhoods. Kenjji: Drawings from the Afro-Futuristic WitchDoctor comic of black empowerment, a work for the urban disenfranchised.

Kenjii is also well known for his album illustrations for Planet E Records. Thom Klepach: Lightboxes investigate the beauty of Detroits culture despite rampant corruption, discrimination and environmental degradation in the urban centre. Kyong Park: Video project narrates the unofficial history of Detroit over the last 50 years: urban clashes between the inner city emptiness and suburban bliss, and the struggles of grass-root activism against the collusion of political and industrial controls. Mark Powell: Mysteriously striking spur of the moment photographic and short video portraits of the people of downtown Detroit. Thomas Rapai: Paintings of eerily isolated motels engage the quotidian images of middle America and embody the fallout of Detroits utopian ideal and the modern automobile industry. Mike Rubin: Music journalist and editor of Motorbooty compiled a historical overview of the finest Detroit area music of the last fifty years. Entitled 313 Jukebox, the sound installation totals 14 CDs and nearly 20 hours worth of music.

Trevor Schoonmaker: Brooklyn based independent curator and co-founder of the art-consulting agency, Associated Projects - www.associatedprojects.com. Schoonmaker most recently curated Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2003). Black President is currently on view at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and will travel to the Barbican Art Gallery in London (September, 2004) Elliott Eastwick: Elliot Eastwick started out as a glass collector in 1991 at Manchester’s Hacienda, moving on to be a DJ there. He developed the club nights Yellow with Dave Haslam and Hard Times plus he’s played at Gatecrasher,The End and in South Africa, Serbia, New Zealand, USA, Moscow, Chile and Hull. He writes for radio, TV and journalistic credits include Mixmag, Jockey Slut and Muzik. TV credits include This is Music (ITV) and Faking It (Channel 4) and various shows for BBC3. He co-founded the label, Paperecordings.

As a producer/remixer, he has worked with Underworld, Moloko, The Beloved, Twisted Nerve and Wall of Sound amongst others. Elliot also has the dubious honour of playing the last ever record at the Hacienda.


Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall will also be hosting a guest appearances by some of Detroit’ s music legends including Godfather of Soul, James Brown (28 June 2004. Tickets on sale from Friday 2 April priced £40. For box office call 0161 907 9000) and The Funk Brothers (featuring a very special guest to be announced) Listings information Thursday 20 May to Sunday July 18, 2004 Urbis, Cathedral Gardens, Manchester, M4 3BG - 0161 907 9099 Monday - Sunday 10.00am - 6.00pm. £5/£3.50 www.urbis.org.uk Opening Reception - Wednesday, May 19 – by invitation only

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