“Building Detroit Part 2”

Part of the African Bead Museum
Part of the African Bead Museum

In Colin M. Day’s second installment of “Building Detroit,” he interviews various artists and surveys a bankrupt city that was once a thriving metropolis and hopes to be again. There’s a lot of beautiful pans of the local Detroit street art and graffiti. Bay Area artist Monica Canilao shows off “The Treasure Nest,” a entire house that she transformed (using only recycled parts) into an instillation. Another featured artists is DABLS, founder of The African Bead Museum. He tells the story of how he developed a series of instillations and sculptors called, “Iron Teaching Rocks How To Rust.” It’s a great metaphor for an oppressed people trying to free themselves by mimicking their oppressors. “Not to know is bad. Not to want to know is worst. Lack of knowledge is darker than night,” said DABLS.  Check the official description and view the video below.

Watch Colin’s first Detroit video, here.

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.

Shot & Directed By Colin M. Day.
Edited by Albert Lopez & Nicolette Hagan.
Sound Mix by Jack Fusting.
Produced by Ethel Seno & Richard Enriquez.
Music Director Nic Notion.


Powerhouse Project: Monica Canilao, Richard Coleman, Swoon, Saelee Oh, Retna, Ben Wolf.
African Bead Museum: DABLS
Hamtramck Disneyland: Dmytro Szylak
N’Kisi Concorde Filmmakers: Nikki Sass & Brittin Richter

Music by:

Nick Speed: “Streets of Detroit,” “Rise to Greatness,” “Trust Me”
The Reelers: “A Terrible Place,” “Motherfuckers Dying in the Fire…”
Ron Zakrin: “Labor Intensive”

Special Thanks:

Jesse Cory, Roula David, Revok, Pose, Monica Canilao, George N’Namdi, Powerhouse Productions, DABLS, Nikki Sass, Brittin Richter, Matt Eaton, Nic Notion, Nick Speed, Craig Hejka, Oscar from the Block

Archival Footage:

“The Detroit You’ve Never Met,” Produced by Detroit Olympic Committee, courtesy of Prelinger Archives
“The Harvest of the Years,” Produced by Ford Motor Company, courtesy of Library of Congress
“FDR WW2 News Reel,” courtesy of Prelinger Archives

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