Here’s the latest installment of MOCAtv’s Building Detroit mini-doc series with DABLS, Dmytro Szylak and ANIMAL favorite Monica Canilao.
Part 1 featured writers REVOK and POSE, a giant tribute to the late NEKST going up on the side of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and walls used as infinite canvases for graffiti and street art. Part 2 focuses on whole gutted architecture, boarded up or re-populated as crash pads and repurposed for sculptural installations.
In the video, Canilao, whose art practice revolves around rearranging and beautifying found objects, scouts ruins of half-demolished buildings and other detritus. The unlivable Victorian house she resides in and works on, became a place for artists to crash, with a greater community growing in the vicinity. “I have no idea what I’m going to do every day, because it keeps changing,” she says. “I am happy existing like that.”
In Detroit, Michigan, where economic demise has forced the city to shrink and turn its back on empty homes and properties, a community of artists thrives by continuing its rich tradition of building. Under the auspice of Power House Productions, a local nonprofit which supports neighborhood revitalization, Oakland artist Monica Canilao transforms a dilapidated Victorian into an aesthetic object straddling the worlds of street art and architecture. On the land surrounding his African Bead Museum, DABLS incorporates discarded construction material into his network of sculptures and installations. And in his backyard, a former General Motors employee named Dmytro Szylak continues to build and tinker with a massive visionary environment which evokes both the auto plant and his own Ukrainian heritage. The factories are closed, but the desire to work remains.