Thursday, August 2, 2007

Exhibition Opening Date Set

We will be opening on Saturday September 22. Mark your calendars, tell your friends, and get all your projects done in plenty of time!! This should be a great event, and I'm looking forward to it all coming together.

- Nick

The Urban Picked Up Paper Color Chart

This is the Final Proposal for Stephen Schudlich's project.

I am creating an urban based color chart. This chart is made up of color information tiles (1) based on waste paper found on the streets that make up the Intersection (it has to be paper that is improperly disposed of.) This waste paper is a source of determining some of the habits and activities of the people who frequent the intersection. I am cataloging these different samples based on purpose or use. These include Hand Written Information, Romance, Junk Food, Spiritual Guidance, Medical, Ticket or Pass,etc. I am providing a key (2) to explain various purpose/usage signaling icons. I am then breaking each scanned item down into a CMYK printer formula and giving the color a name based largely on an urban lexicon.
J. Crew gives us colors like celery and pumpkin. The Urban Picked Up Paper Color Chart will give us colors like filter (a cigarette butt) or ronald red (mcdonalds box) or booked (yellowed page from a copy of Cannery Row found in a field behind The Whitney.) These tiles will be arranged in alphabetical or prismatic order in a wall mounted chart (3).

This chart will be printed on canvas and integrated into a wall mounted retractable screen system such as used in many academic/institutional environments.
Paper used in the piece will be contained in a plexiglass box mounted either on the wall beneath the chart, or on the floor.


On the 117th day of construction, Work/Detroit got lights!!

Pretty cool.

That's a wrap!

Gary Schwartz shoots the final scene of "Judge Woodward Gets Lost" back on the steps of the Detroit Center. People all around town saw Gary in action as his Woodward puppets made their way through the city. Look to see the movie and a live-action Zoetrope in the exhibition!

The Bus Stop(‘)s Here

Nick Tobier and Rachel Timlin put their bus stop into action for the first time. Look for more from this dynamic duo as the summer rolls on.

The bus stop was wheeled in for the day, and Scott Hocking made use of it to talk with Stephanie Rowden about their respective projects.

Later, Stephanie took it over to talk to noted Detroit Historian….

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Woodward 200!!

Woodward Avenue turns 200 this year.....

Something we can tie into perhaps??

Judge Woodward Gets Lost

Step Aerobics

Our Architect

Christian Unverzagt of M1/DTW, architect of the UM Detroit gallery, is featured in Model D this week, a very nice piece.

Check it out here:

Monday, July 9, 2007

Woodward Puppets

Test puppets from Gary Schwartz's upcoming animation, Judge Woodward gets lost in Detroit....

Friday, July 6, 2007

Hanging Walls

Check out the new prototypes for our hanging wall system!

Pretty cool, thanks Christian and Eric, N

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Second Gathering Info

We'll be meeting again, Tuesday July 10 from 4:30 to 7 pm.

Be prepared to share your proposal (where you are thus far), and receive and give feedback. This is an opportunity to get more ideas and explore further collaborative possibilities. Also, we'll be looking at some things like working on the actual title of the show and some design issues related to that.

Look forward to seeing you all there.
- Nick
c: 248-396-5530

Maps through the Ages

Monday, June 25, 2007

Step Aerobics

The other morning our stairs played host to an intense training session, as captured by architect extraordinaire Christian Unverzagt. (The movie is great, but i don't know how to upload just yet)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Neighborhood

Get to know what's here and all around the corner. Meet the neighbors through this list of businesses, community organizations, and links to them.

o The UM Detroit Center itself.
• The Detroit Center stands at the confluence of the busy Mack Avenue/Martin Luther King Boulevard and Woodward Avenue corridors. (from:
• The University of Michigan has established the 10,500 square-foot UM Detroit Center on the ground floor of Orchestra Place. The facility provides a home for dozens of long-standing programs while opening the door to increased UM involvement with the community. Eighteen UM units are currently participating in the center. The facility provides offices and space for classes, meetings, exhibitions, lectures, and collaborative work while serving as a home base for students and faculty working on projects in Detroit.
o UM Architecture/Urban Planning in the Detroit Center:

o Detroit Symphony Orchestra – Street Corner Concerts

o DMC (Hospital) - Huge Medical Complex
o Detroit Receiving Hospital – Phenomenal Art Collection

Milner Arms Hotel (right Next door)

o Cass Corridor Neighborhood Development Corporation – Patrick Dorn
• We provide the rehabilitation and building of decent, safe and affordable housing; promote economic opportunities for community residents; and foster a spirit of com and mutual support in the neighborhood.
• 3535 Cass Ave., Detroit, MI 48201 (313) 831-0199

o Detroit High School for Fine and Performing Arts: Denise Cotton, Principal. 123 Seldon, Detroit, MI. 48201 (313) 494-6000

o Preservation Wayne: Francis Grunow
• Detroit’s oldest and largest preservation organization dedicated to preserving, promoting, and protecting the neighborhoods and structures that define Detroit. (313) 577-355

o UCCA-Midtown: Sue Mosey, Annmarie Borucki
• The UCCA was organized to support the physical maintenance and development of the area and to enhance public awareness, appreciation and use of Midtown Detroit.

o Back Alley Bikes
• Detroit’s Free Bike Shop and Community Center (313) 879-5073

o Art Spaces Nearby:
• Detroit Artists Market
• Wayne State University (Elaine L. Jacob Gallery)
• Ellen Kayrod Gallery (at the Hannan House)
• Dell Pryor Gallery

o Nearby Restaurants/Cafés:
• Union Street, Majestic Cafe, Starbucks, Atlas Bistro, Beans and Bytes, Avalon Bakery, Goodwells Health Food

o Businesses: Fedex/Kinkos, Zakoor Novelty, Canine to Five (Doggy Day Care)

o Nearby Community organizations:
• Detroit Summer, Matrix Human services, Detroit Urban League, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Cass Corridor Youth Advocates, Think Detroit

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Show Premise, Essay, Important Dates

Synopsis: Take our guiding concept/philosophy: a cultural nerve center where people, places, and creative work intersect quite literally and take a look at the site of our intersection specifically.

Premise: Makers of creative work respond to our Intersection (Woodward & MLK/Mack.) What they can see, hear, smell, people they meet, architecture, sunlight, history, anything.

This is a site-specific, potentially collaborative exhibition with wide open possibilities for traditional media, performance, video, web projects, and more. We’ll be utilizing our interior, exterior corner, the courtyard behind building between the Nevelson pieces (Robert Sosnick Sculptural Park), and the neglected triangular park down the street between MLK and Davenport – an excellent beautification project/performance site.

Some Thoughts

“Neighborhoods have life spans. They begin, evolve, mature and die. But while this evolution is displayed by the decline of its buildings, it seems that the lives of the inhabitants are the internal force which generates the decay. People, not buildings, are the heart of the matter.”
– Will Eisner, from his Introduction to his graphic novel, “Dropsie Avenue.”

Henry David Thoreau stated in “Walden” that, “a man can walk forever in an area of only a few square miles.” It’s but a short leap from Thoreau walking to the mathematical concept of fractals. Fractal figures possess self-similarity, which (quite overly simplified) means that as we look closer into the depths of the figure, ever greater complexity is revealed. As Thoreau did, a fractal walk in the most confined of areas continually leads to new discoveries.

The artistic movement known as the Situationist International offers a similar way of walking. In their view, art is not about making a spectacle for others to consume, but about embedding art in everyday life, activities in which all could participate, and help foster engagement in the reality of living. One method of achieving this expanded awareness is known as the dérive, a walk that is more of a “drifting” through a place than a direct journey. Like the fractal walk, the dérive allows the walker to make new discoveries in his/her environment – an adult Easter egg hunt of sorts.

Again, the deeper we look, the more we discover.

In some ways then, through the literal exploration of this single corner, this intersection, from a multitude of perspectives, we can see it as a microcosm of something much larger. The “world in a grain of sand” as it were. This intersection of people, places, and means of creative working, is an opportunity to truly look deeply and to learn much from one another in the process.

I welcome the opportunity to work with and learn from all of you. – Nick Sousanis

o Initial Exhibition Gathering June 6, 2007
The roadmap to the September 15, 2007 Exhibition Opening is as follows:

o July 2, 2007: Initial Proposals Due
o Tuesday, July 10, 2007: Second Gathering at Work@Detroit.
•Initial Proposals presented to group, opportunity for further collaboration, time to shape the look, feel of the exhibition.
o July 24, 2007: Final Proposals Due, biographical information, artists statements gathered.
o End of August/Beginning of September 2007: Work Delivered or arrangement to install agreed upon (Exact dates to be determined.)
o September 15, 2007: Exhibition Opening! – to be followed by talks, performances, etc.

Contact Info: Nick Sousanis or
313 593-0949 c: 248-396-5530
Detroit Center General Phone: 313 593-3584

Friday, June 15, 2007

Corner Pictures

Judge Woodward

By Michael Radwanski
(edited by Nick Sousanis)

Throughout Detroit’s history, one road has been a significant part of life for all who live and visit this city. Woodward Avenue is a storied street. Generations young and old can identify with the road ranging from memories of a trip down to Hudson’s via streetcar or cruising by car or catching a baseball game at Comerica Park. Despite its frequency of use, the man it’s named is less well known.

Detroit began as little more then an outpost in the American frontier. The French arrived in 1701 to build a fort and a small trading post. As a result, road names like Dequindre and Chene can be linked directly to people who received land grants from the French crown. Eventually the British took over Detroit, before giving it to the newly formed American government in 1796. At that point, Detroit was still a small settlement.

Augustus Brevoort Woodward was a somewhat eccentric man. He was born in 1774, and changed his name from Elias to Augustus to compliment his obsession with Roman history. He had practiced law in his birthplace of New York, and later moved to Washington D.C. Woodward greatly admired Thomas Jefferson, and the two became friends. This friendship resulted in Jefferson appointing Woodward to be a judge and sent him to Detroit.

In 1805, Michigan became a territory. Jefferson appointed two other judges to join Woodward: Benjamin Witherell and Solomon Sibley. Woodward came to Detroit from Washington on horseback shortly after the initial settlement had burned down – the citizens of Detroit were devastated and homeless. Woodward was quick to take action over the still smoking ruins of the city. Without any direction from governor William Hull, he set out to rebuild Detroit in a whole new way.

His first plan of action was to get his hands on a set of design drawings by L’Enfant, who had laid out the roads for Washington D.C. This brought a whole new look to the streets of Detroit. L’Enfant’s plan called for streets arranged like the spokes of a wheel that are so familiar to Detroiters today. Woodward named Jefferson Avenue after his friend, but he would only name two other streets after Presidents – Monroe and Madison. While the obvious assumption is that Woodward named the main street after himself, Woodward himself wanted folks to believe otherwise. In fact, he was quite upset when the two other judges in the territory named two minor roads after themselves, Sibley and Witherell. He denied having named Woodward after himself, claiming, “I named it Wood-ward, to the woods” (Bingay 212).

As time went on, Woodward would live up to the title of Caesar. He was in charge of the courts, and without any authority, named himself chief justice. Woodward also wrote his own laws for Michigan, known as The Woodward Code. He held court in the evening on the site of the current city hall building. Court hearings were unruly at best – meat and whiskey were brought in throughout the night. It was at this point that some of the citizens began to be disgruntled with Woodward.

In the War of 1812, Detroit fell to the British without a single shot fired. But even a war could not stop the determined Woodward. He continued to plan the city and received monetary compensation from both the American and the British governments. Woodward planned a community to the north called Woodward Heights. In the midst of playing this massive ego trip with the future of Detroit, he would found the the University of Michigan in the city, modeled after the University of Virginia, which Jefferson founded.

At large, the citizens of Detroit demanded a change, and on March 3, 1824 they got it. President
Monroe got Congress to establish term limits for judges. The news of Woodward having to step down from his position arrived by boat. The citizens could not have been more pleased with Congress. Captain Woodworth had the cannons fired at Detroit to celebrate. Bonfires lit up the sky, as Detroiters partied late into the night. At the Sagina Hotel, Governor Lewis Cass held a banquet along with other leading citizens to celebrate the end of Woodward’s reign.

Despite laying out the city, and founding the University of Michigan, this eccentric and powerful leader was sent on his way. Woodward would accept another judgeship in the state of Florida, but his death shortly after arriving would limit his influence on the region.

Detroiters did everything to dismantle Woodward’s plans except change the name of his street. It stands as a testimony to the city’s colorful past. The next time you venture down Woodward Avenue, take a minute to think about the man, and how his influence is still felt in our city today (Bingay 208-215).

Bingay, Malcolm W. “Detroit is my Own Home Town”. New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1946.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007



Detroit Resources

UM Detroit Center:
Detroit Yes:
Current Arts and Cultural Info:

General Detroit History,_Michigan
French Ribbon Farms:
(Preservation Wayne):
On Paradise Valley:

re: Detroit Music History:
Photos from 1900-1980 – Detroit News:;page=index
Streets – General
Michigan Highways:
Street Names:

Woodward Avenue
1943 Riot along Woodward:

Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave (around the countery):
Renaming of street in Florida:

Myrtle to MLK in Gainesville Florida – Odd coincidence… :
Random bit on geographical renaming

Mack Ave:
Rosa Parks from 12th st:
Mack Avenue Records:

More on Levi L. Barbour

Michael Panhorst, director of the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, published an article titled “Levi Barbour Fountain: The Process of Creating Art” in Island in the City: Belle Isle, Detroit’s Beautiful Island, a companion book to an exhibit at the Detroit
Historical Museum, March 23 through Sept. 9


Google Earth Historical:

Sanborn Insurance Maps (specifically links to the area around this intersection)