In the Fall of 2014, I participated in a residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) in their Department of Education and Public Engagement (DEPE), as part of Different Data and in conjunction with DesignInquiry. This opportunity extended from a February 2014 expedition to Detroit, that I helped coordinate as a Board Member with DesignInquiry. The DI expedition brought together designers, artists, writers and historians to investigate the creative ecology of Detroit. The follow up MOCAD DEPE Space residency comprised multimedia works installed on contiguous walls within the Museum. More than a dozen designers contributed to the exhibition, by constructing work on the walls and responding to each others’ work. The various projects were realized in an open-ended format, where multiple inquiries into the topic occurred, but whose final end-result remained undetermined.
Over the course of the three-month-long Fall residency, we (Different Data) worked to develop our multi-dimensional project, Different Data Detroit. The project attempted to reveal unexpected relationships between data and the ways in which it is collected, manipulated, interpreted, and presented. It sought to represent evolution and emergence in the cultural activities and systemic cycles in Detroit. Our goals were to investigate invisible attributes of the city, that are simultaneously physical, spatial, and ephemeral. We began the project by collecting data on specific areas in Detroit that we designated as cultural nodes or hot-spots. We restricted our research to these locations as a method of constraining the vastness of the urban sphere and to focus on cultural places that are in active transition. These point to activity and agency in the cultural metabolism of the city. By comparing the cultural space of these dynamic emerging centers, our goal was to create maps of imagination that incorporate affective layers, layers of possibility, and representations of the real and fictitious.
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‘Different Data: Experimental Design Research for Mapping Cities,’ paper presentation by Rachele Riley and Joshua Singer at CUMULUS Milan 2015: The Virtuous Circle, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy. June 4, 2015.