At the end of the XIXth Century, mankind was about to fulfill an old dream. The idea of a fast and autonomous means of displacement was slowly becoming a reality for engineers all over the world. Thanks to its ideal location on the Great Lakes Basin, the city of Detroit was about to generate its own industrial revolution. Visionary engineers and entrepreneurs flocked to its borders. In 1913, up-and-coming car manufacturer Henry Ford perfected the first large-scale assembly line. Within few years, Detroit was about to become the world capital of automobile and the cradle of modern mass-production. For the first time of history, affluence was within the reach of the mass of people. Monumental skyscapers and fancy neighborhoods put the city’s wealth on display. Detroit became the dazzling beacon of the American Dream. Thousands of migrants came to find a job. By the 50's, its population rose to almost 2 million people. Detroit became the 4th largest city in the United States. The automobile moved people faster and farther. Roads, freeways and parking lots forever reshaped the landscape. At the beginning of the 50's, plants were relocated in Detroit's periphery. The white middle-class began to leave the inner city and settled in new mass-produced suburban towns. Highways frayed the urban fabric. Deindustrialization and segregation increased. In 1967, social tensions exploded into one of the most violent urban riots in American history. The population exodus accelerated and whole neighbourhoods began to vanish. Outdated downtown buildings emptied. Within fifty years Detroit lost more than half of its population. Detroit, industrial capital of the XXth Century, played a fundamental role shaping the modern world. The logic that created the city also destroyed it. Nowadays, unlike anywhere else, the city’s ruins are not isolated details in the urban environment. They have become a natural component of the landscape. Detroit presents all archetypal buildings of an American city in a state of mummification. Its splendid decaying monuments are, no less than the Pyramids of Egypt, the Coliseum of Rome, or the Acropolis in Athens, remnants of the passing of a great Empire. This work is thus the result of a five-year collaboration started in 2005.
Welcome to the city of Detroit, ‘the Murder Capital of the USA’, where the grass is growing over the parking lots and the houses are abandoned. Here, a new life is slowly beginning to take form and take over the deserted city. But even if the writing on the wall has a different and more apocalyptic meaning, there is no reason to panic. Detroit Wild City looks with the wandering gaze and cool, philosophical distance of the outsider at the changes in urban landscapes in a historical moment when a ‘post-’ is written before ‘utopias’, ‘humanity’ and ‘dollar capitalism’. Invisible disasters have ruined the city, and all that is left are traces in the form of radio adverts about debt relief, flocks of stray dogs, and a mysterious pile of burned New Age books. But on the fringes of it all, people have started to reorganize themselves in autonomous societies, where settlers are growing vegetables and still believe in the future – just not as an extension of the present. Florent Tillon keeps a level head and like a French Jim Jarmusch he turns his selective camera to where new ideas grow in the ruins of the 20th century’s belief in eternal progress. And where the knowledge that something new is going to happen is a rare piece of good news.
A Detroit, la rouille vire au vert. La ville symbole de la «rust belt» américaine, la capitale déchue de l’automobile, voit fleurir des milliers de jardins dans ses arrière-cours, ses parcs et ses terrains vagues.
Peut-être là, à Detroit.Est-ce exagéré de dire que pour la première fois, je me sens chez moi, ici ? Pourquoi, pour les interstices, pour la dureté et la rumeur incessante ? Pour la vigilance ? Pour le temps qu’il faut ? Pour la résonance ? Le ciel puissant, qui arrive vite. La rue s’étire loin, ralentit la marche, et toujours les espaces entre, découpeurs de pans. La lumière peut se permettre de venir raser le sol, elle remonte le long des buildings, elle écarte les choses, les fait trembler. Elle est pourvoyeuse de gorges nouées, de compréhensions soudaines, d’arrêts médusés.
Renaissance Center (also known as the GM Renaissance Center and nicknamed the RenCen) is a group of seven interconnected skyscrapers in Downtown Detroit, Michigan, United States. Located on the International Riverfront, the Renaissance Center complex is owned by General Motors as its world headquarters. The central tower, the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, is the tallest all-hotel skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere, and features the largest rooftop restaurant, Coach Insignia. It has been the tallest building in Michigan since its erection in 1977. John Portman was the principal architect for the original design. The first phase constructed a five tower rosette rising from a common base. Four 39-story office towers surround the 73-story hotel rising from a square-shaped podium which includes a shopping center, restaurants, brokerage firms, banks, a four-screen movie theatre, private clubs. The first phase officially opened in March 1977. Portman's design renewed attention to city architecture, constructing the world's tallest hotel at the time. Two additional 21-story office towers (known as Tower 500 and Tower 600) opened in 1981. This type of complex has been termed a city within a city.
Des immeubles en ruine, des fenêtres fracassées, des voitures abandonnées, des toits effondrés et des rues désertes. Un vrai décor d’apocalypse ou un paysage d’après-guerre. Mais non, nous ne sommes pas à Sarajevo ou à Beyrouth, mais aux États-Unis et plus précisément à Détroit. La ville du Michigan semble comme vidée de ses habitants. Sous l’objectif du réalisateur français, Florent Tillon, ce sont seulement quelques fantômes qui déambulent entre les gratte ciels. Une gardienne de parking endormie, un pianiste dans un vieux café, un employé qui attrape les chiens errants ou encore un sans abri qui traîne son caddy. Toute l’âme de Détroit s’est évaporée. En l’espace de cinquante ans, la ville a perdu plus d’un million d’habitants.
La techno de Détroit peut être considérée comme la techno originelle, étant donné que la musique techno est apparue à Détroit au milieu des années 1980 avec la création par Juan Atkins du label Metroplex. La techno de Détroit est à la fois proche des musiques électroniques européennes des années 1970 (le groupe Kraftwerk tout particulièrement) mais aussi du P-Funk (le style de George Clinton).
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