Electronic Landscapes by Isaac Diggs & Edward Hillel

 Electronic Landscapes: Music, Space and Resistance in Detroit grew from an initial trip to the city in 2011 to attend Movement Festival and experience firsthand the music Edward and I found so compelling.  Hypnotic and deeply soulful, the sounds produced by Detroit’s electronic musicians – whether, techno, house or hip hop – immediately captured our imagination and inspired us to think about the connection between sound and space.  How did the urban landscape of Detroit shape the texture and feeling of the music we were hearing?  And will that sound change as the landscape is transformed by market speculation and gentrification?

     We have been thinking about the connection between landscape and culture since 125th: Time in Harlem (2014), our debut book and exhibition that announced our collaborative exploration into the possibilities of and challenges to Black space. We interpret Black space through the physicality of architecture and interiors, and the distinct street life that characterizes communities of color.  But we also understand it through the sometimes immaterial cultural “products” that environment births: memories and emotions, objects and heirlooms, poems and paintings.  Who can walk through Harlem and not think about its Renaissance, and the way rent parties in town houses and apartment buildings fostered creative social exchange?  In capturing a moment before Harlem’s landscape radically changed, our work was largely elegiac, but in Detroit we have done something entirely different.

Stacey “Hotwaxx” Hale at Home, Detroit, 2015

 Electronic Landscapes offers you a collection of photographs and accompanying text made over a five year period that weaves a contemporary story of music, space and resistance. It is a testament to an extraordinary creative community of musicians, producers and djs determined to innovate as stakeholders in shaping Detroit’s future.  Their efforts to resist displacement amidst the city’s changing landscape is an inspiration for other communities facing similar challenges.  

United Sound Recording Studio, Detroit, 2015

      We highlight some of Detroit’s most influential artists: figures like Mike Banks of Underground Resistance, Sound Signature’s Theo Parrish, Stacey “Hotwaxx” Hale, Amp Fiddler and others who generously granted us unprecedented access to photograph the creative spaces in which they live, labor and dream.  At its core, however, Electronic Landscapes is not a who’s who of the electronic music scene (other projects have done that marvelously), but a celebration of Detroit artists who sustain community through making space. 

Motor Lounge Doors, Hamtramck, 2014

     Our exhibition will debut in Detroit at The Heidelberg Project in May 2020, in time for Movement Festival.  The Heidelberg Project is the visionary public art project created by native Detroit artist/activist Tyree Guyton, and we couldn’t be more excited.  Well, actually, the only thing that would top our current excitement is knowing we have your support to publish the book in time for the exhibition!  Through the book we can extend the impact of the project to reach far more audiences who continue to be inspired by this Detroit story.  

     So please have a look at the funding options and choose something that makes you happy.  (Any money raised above and beyond our stated goal will go towards producing the exhibition!) To date this project has been a labor of love carried by Edward, myself and a small group of Detroiters. Come join us as we take Electronic Landscapes over the finish line for May 2020! 

Raybone Jones in His Basement Studio, Detroit, 2015

Electronic Landscapes: Music, Space and Resistance in Detroit; 65 photographs, 2 essays, designed by Artist + Publishers Services, published by +KGP, expected May 2020.

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