Modern Ruins – Detroit

5. Detroit – Hope for the Motor City

For many people Detroit with its deserted center its giant wasteland. Raging unemployment and violence symbolize the end of the American dream. In the very place where the triumphal procession of the „American way of life“ started, it is now at the tipping point. But there is also reason for hope: the vacancy attracts young, creative people from all over the world. Young artists are discovering the empty factory halls for their art work, urban explorers climb into the many abandoned buildings, documenting everything with their cameras. The Urban Farming movement uses the huge wastelands right in the city center for growing their own organic fruits and vegetables. Bit by bit, they all change the face of the “motor city”.

News

  • 01/2013 - "Modern Ruins – Detroit: Hope for the Motor City“ screening at FIFA in Montreal

    Detroit goes Canada: We are happy to be invited to the 31st International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA), held [...]

    Detroit goes Canada: We are happy to be invited to the 31st International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA), held in Montreal, March 14-24, 2013. Our production „Modern Ruins - Detroit: Hope for the Motor City“ has been selected for a screening in the Horizons section!


  • 08/2015 - Ruhrtriennale shows "Modern Ruins"

    Two episodes of our documentary series “Modern Ruins” are shown on Wednesday, September 2nd at 8 pm in front of [...]

    Two episodes of our documentary series "Modern Ruins" are shown on Wednesday, September 2nd at 8 pm in front of the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum during the Rurtriennale Festival. While Zeche Lohberg is rotting since its close-down in 2005  there is hope for the former Motor City Detroit. The entrance is free. Ruhrtriennale ist an annual international Arts Festival and takes place from August 14th to September 26th in the former industrial buildings of the Ruhr Area.  

    Ruhrtriennale 2015
    About the documentary series "Modern Ruins"


  • 03/2013 - Alice Agneskirchner at the FIFA in Montreal

    Only a few days left until director Alice Agneskirchner will present our production “Modern Ruins – Detroit: Hope for the [...]

    Only a few days left until director Alice Agneskirchner will present our production “Modern Ruins – Detroit: Hope for the Motor City” at the Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) in Montreal. The screening will be accompanied by a panel discussion exploring the role of citizens in developing urban projects. If you want to join the discussion, come to the Centre Canadien d’Architecture at 1.30 pm on March 21st!

    Festival of Films on Art - Montreal


Projekte


  • ZecheLohberg_artikelbild

    Modern Ruins – Lohberg

  • moderne_ruinen_pyramiden_artikelbild

    Modern Ruins – Piramida

  • moderne ruinen_artikelbild

    Modern Ruins (5 parts)

  • moderne_ruinen_fordlandia_artikelbild

    Modern Ruins – Fordlândia

  • moderne_ruinen_kolmanskuppe_artikelbild

    Modern Ruins - Kolmanskop


Modern Ruins – Detroit

5. Detroit – Hope for the Motor City

Detroit became the centre of the American car industry at the beginning of the 20th century. The “big 3” – Chrysler, Ford, General Motors – created a “Motor City”. The economic boom attracted millions of people who fulfilled their parochial ideal of the American dream. Detroit was modern, urban and fast. Here the first city motor way, the “Davison Freeway”, was built, as well as the first production line and the first street with concrete coating. Later the boomtown with the first Shopping Center became the model for suburbanization – which then was accepted in the USA and the rest of the western world. The oil crisis in 1973 was the beginning of the end.The “Big 3” closed down their old factories and build new facilities, often in low-wage countries. It was the demise of the metropolis.

Today one third of the entire municipal area is deserted and numerous buildings have been demolished. Altogether more than 4.000 buildings are vacant: abandoned, shut down and walled. In some streets Detroit resembles a ghost town. Street signs corrode. Grass grows on pathways. Wild dogs stray. Visitors of Detroit have to prepare for dystopian sceneries. Many houses are covered by ivy; tress and bushes grow out of their roofs and windows. And the current economic and real estate crisis tightens the situation. Empty buildings are not going to find new owners in the near future and every day the decay of the city continues with the return of nature.

Every corner tells the story of an urban dream and its slow decay. Joseph Adranga, 85, used to work in the Packard Plant when it was still big, assembling Studebackers. He witnessed the city in its golden age. Today, the empty factory halls are the setting for gloomy music videos.

Mama Pay Ceck runs a bar where writer Steve Hughes is a regular, listening to the many stories of hardship. Drugs, crime and unemployment shape the lives of the mostly black population, who are struggling to find a way out.

Like Olayami Dabls. a black artists who reflects his cultural heritage in his monumental sculptures, using the scrap material that he finds in his neighborhood.

Concept artist Scott Hocking discovered the empty factories for his art, building bizarre sculptures in the abandoned buildings. The film witnesses his latest piece of art coming to life: a gigantic egg-shaped sculpture, made from the marble of the shut down Central Station.

Urban farmers use the vast wastelands to grow their own fruit and vegetable – there are many ways to bring new life to the ruins of Detroit. Like no other place, the city embodies both: The disillusionment of economic downturn and the bizarre beauty and creativity emerging from it.

Director: Alice Agneskirchner
Cinematography: Sven Kiesche
Editor: Julia Wiedwald
Sound Design: Ludger Hennig
Composer: Eike Hosenfeld, Moritz Denis, Tim Stanzel
Line producer: Kathrin Isberner, Susanne Heinz
Production Manager: Sarah Maret, Nick Pastucha
Executive Producer: Anahita Nazemi
Producer: Christian Beetz
Commissioning Editor ZDF/ARTE: Marita Hübinger, Caroline Auret

Kooperation

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Förderer

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  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    Wendell W. Anderson Jr. Auditorium - Detroit, USA
    05 December 2011 at 5:00 pm

  • Modern Ruins – Detroit

    arte
    17 February 2012 at 4:45 pm

  • Modern Ruins – Detroit

    arte
    24 February 2012 at 8:55 am

  • Modern Ruins: Detroit - Hope for the Motor City

    FIFA Festival - Centre Canadien d’Architecture - Montréal
    23 March 2013 at 1:30 pm

  • Modern Ruins – Detroit

    ServusTV
    12 May 2013 at 9:15 pm

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival New Zealand - Auckland, New Zealand
    13 May 2013 at 1:45 pm

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival New Zealand - Auckland, New Zealand
    15 May 2013 at 8:45 pm

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival New Zealand - Wellington, New Zealand
    28 May 2013 at 7:15 pm

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    ServusTV
    30 May 2013 at 12:00 am

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    Servus TV
    02 June 2013 at 6:25 am

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival New Zealand - Dunedin, New Zealand
    08 June 2013 at 10:30 am

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    Arte
    28 October 2013 at 6:25 pm

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    arte
    28 October 2013 at 6:25 pm

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    DW-tv
    29 October 2013 at 9:15 pm

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    DW-tv
    30 October 2013 at 9:15 am

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    Arte
    15 November 2013 at 11:15 am

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    ZDF Kultur
    23 November 2013 at 4:55 pm

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    ZDF Kultur
    24 November 2013 at 4:00 am

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    Servus TV
    13 February 2014 at 4:10 pm

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    ServusTV
    16 February 2014 at 8:25 am

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    ZDFinfokanal
    09 March 2014 at 6:00 pm

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    ZDFinfokanal
    16 March 2014 at 1:15 am

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    3sat
    06 May 2014 at 4:15 pm

  • Modern Ruins Detroit - Hope for the Motor City

    ServusTV
    27 February 2015 at 6:35 am

  • Modern Ruins – Detroit

    ServusTV
    16 July 2015 at 6:30 am

  • Ruhrtriennale Festival shows "Modern Ruins" (Lohberg & Detroit)

    Jahrhunderthalle - Bochum
    02 September 2015 at 8:00 pm

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    ServusTV
    18 November 2015 at 3:55 pm

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    ServusTV
    19 November 2015 at 6:05 am

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    ServusTV
    03 March 2016 at 4:00 pm

  • Modern Ruins – Detroit

    ServusTV
    04 March 2016 at 6:05 am

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    ServusTV
    18 July 2016 at 4:00 pm

  • Modern Ruins - Detroit

    ServusTV
    19 July 2016 at 6:20 am

  • Sarah Cox, curbed.com

    "It is a bottom-up story about artists and small-scale interpersonal networks and how they function in the face of tremendous negative social pressures amidst a neglected built environment. (…) This is a story of people trying to figure out how to relate to a changed city. This is not an outsider gawking at the ruined Rome of the Midwest – this is very much a community looking at itself across a gap of years. (…) This film shows continuity in Detroit – that this is not a place of befores and afters, but where people have traveled a long and eventful line to get where they are today. This is not ruin porn – this is meta ruin porn. And that is a good thing."