Life Beyond Death (We Hope) in the Age of Dystopia

Fisher Body 21, Detroit, MI (2008)

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”—shit, there, I did it. How does that sound? Too cliché?  Are you going to tell me that Dickens is rolling in his grave? Drama.

Point is, Sean Hemmerle’s Rust Belt has the pulse of A Tale of Two Cities, except it’s about ten, twenty cities—more. It’s the Motor City, the Magic City of Steel; it’s Waterville, Ohio and Braddock, Pennsylvania. And while it’s at The Front Room, it’s about looking in from our city, and about figuring out what that means and where that’s going. It escapes dilution—this is not “just” about Detroit; this is not “just” about abandoned automobile factories—but also risks perpetuating the fly-over state fable of economic undoing, of irreversible urban decay, of industrial architecture forever suspended in animation. Are you ready to have the ol’ ruin porn (ooh, cringe) debate? Don’t play dumb; you saw that coming. You can condemn the bleak memorialization of “lost” grandeur, but there are plenty of tents pitched in that camp and it’s starting to feel a little hot in here, AMIRIGHT? Use this as an opportunity to move the conversation forward. C’mon, New Yawwwk; make like Linda Richman and discuss. Through March 10th.

Samantha Wolner of My Social List

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