Detroit (Happy New Year!)

The approaching New Year brings with it changes in the landscape of The Hinterlands.  By changes in landscape I mean that we’ve moved to - wait for it - Detroit, Michigan!  As winter closes her circle around us we bid farewell (for now) to fair Milwaukee, land of rivers, lakes, breweries, storytellers, Packers fans, damn fine espresso, bucket brigades, burek, and at least two of the best radio stations in the country.  Milwaukee has been good to us, and we will continue to connect with artists and communities in the Cream City as we move forward (more about that later).

Why Detroit?  When we talk about our work we often use metaphors around space: we speak of territories, landscapes, realms, and countries.  We also talk in terms of possibilities. If we leave a place for another place whose location is unknown or uncertain to us, there are an infinite number of possible ways to arrive at that place.  If the place is known to us, there are only a few ways to get there - the direct way, the scenic way, the way that skips traffic.

Detroit, to me at least, is a place that is full of possibility, because it is a place whose future is so uncertain.  It is exciting, if a little frightening, to think that you could be a part of reshaping a city - of re-imagining what a city could be.  Of course, you are always apart of reshaping the place you are in (how could it be different?), but Detroit makes this very clear.  It seems impossible to be here without getting your hands dirty, which is fine by us.


(Our new backyard at Filter Detroit!)

Detroit is also full of space(s).  It is no secret that Detroit has emptied out over the last four decades and that it’s peak population of 2.5 million has shrunk to around 800,000.  Something has to fill those vacancies, so why not us?  The spaces we have looked at so far have been in former factories, schools, houses, odd fellows halls, you name it. 

As a longtime techno enthusiast (and sometimes fanatic) Detroit as always been a mythic place.  Techno was invented in Detroit and it still has one of the most vibrant scenes for electronic music in North America.   Local record labels Underground Resistance, Planet E, and M-NUS still release quality records and their parties go all night long.

(M_NUS recording artist Magda, raised in Hamtramck, MI and currently residing in Berlin, plays a set at The Works in Detroit.  The Hinterlands danced their butts off.)

We are currently living at Filter Detroit - an artist/researcher residency space and living archive north of Hamtramck.  The Powerhouse Project is right across the street from us and Juxtapoz Magazine has four houses in the neighborhood as well, which they are using for installations by notable street artists from around the U.S.  We look forward to getting more involved in this neighborhood in the coming months as we get back to work on The Dead Road, a psychedelic western inspired by William S. Burroughs, Cormac McCarthy, and Buffalo Bills Wild West Show.

(One of the Juxtapoz houses in our neighborhood)

A few projects, initiatives, and publications in Detroit that have inspired us to move here:

The Powerhouse Project:
The Yes Farm:
The Heidelberg Project:
The Imagination Station:
The Detroit Works Project:
555 Arts Detroit:
Underground Resistance:
Open City:
Model D Media:
Juxtapoz Detroit:
Slows Barbecue (trust us):

Anyway, these are just a few of the fantastic things that are happening here and resources that are available.  You all should come visit.  We have a couch.  And a blow up bed.  But who needs sleep?