“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” This quote from Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Fight Club aptly describes the genesis of the tremendous creative energy in the city of Detroit today.
According to the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau, Detroit has lost more than half of its population since 1950; it is a city in crisis. Once the flagship of the automotive industry (earning Detroit the nickname “Motor City”) the city has been largely abandoned. Shops have closed, administrations have resigned, deserted streets and empty buildings give it a post-apocalyptic atmosphere, which was captured by French photographers Yves Marchard and Roman Meffre in their fascinating book The Ruins of Detroit.
Faced with entropy and decay, the citizens of Detroit decided to take things in hand with self-management, collaborative consumption, and “Do It Ourselves” movements, alongside a growing DIY ethic. Support and resourcefulness have been the watchwords of this revival.
Like Shamengo pioneers around the world, Detroit residents have thrown down the challenge to revive their city. Urban gardens, Wi-Fi networks, bike workshops—the goal above all is to [re]appropriate vacant urban spaces.
Detroit has also attracted outsiders like two young French journalists Nora Mandray and Hélène Bienvenu. For a year they have followed the lives of a handful of protagonists in the renovation of this city: an urban farmer, female mechanics, a hacker. The goal of their project is a web documentary that celebrates the doers of Detroit.
As with many long-term documentary projects, the question of financing is a major preoccupation, which is why these filmmakers are appealing to us (and you) via the Kickstarter collaborative financing platform. The goal is to gather sufficient funds to allow them to complete their work-in-progress.
There are only a few days left to contribute, so don’t delay! For the most generous donors, our two journalists are offering a trip to Detroit and the chance to be a part of the incredible world they’re filming.