William Livingstone House, Brush Park, a French Renaissance-style house designed by Albert Kahn in 1893 and demolished since this photograph was taken. Photograph © Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre.
I've spent part of every summer for the past dozen and a half years in southeast Michigan and have mixed feeling about the region. On the one hand, Ann Arbor where I teach is too preening and precious for my taste - by a considerable amount. On the other hand, Detroit - which I have to traverse in each direction to get to Ann Arbor - makes me cringe. It is an amplified version of the political economic disasters in Rochester and the other urban areas across Western NY. Each of these cities is an extremely unflattering monument to both capitalism and political corruption. I've posted here
about Detroit several times and about Rochester here
more than that. In any case, The Guardian has run this series of photographs by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre of the crumbling ruins of Detroit. They remind me of work Robert Polidori and others have done on the 'exclusion zones' surrounding Chernobyl. I've posted on that work here a couple of times before. In this instance the catastrophe was economic implosion rather than technological and ecological disaster. These images are very, very far from a complete portrait of Detroit. But they convey an important dimension of what is wrong with the US these days.
Labels: capitalism, Chernobyl, corruption, Detroit, political economy, poverty, Rochester