In cities like New York or Miami, there concept of unused space does not exist – anything inactive is demolished to make way for new developments. But until its fortunes reversed in the last ten years, Detroit sat in a state of arrested development for nearly five decades prior.
Sometimes the results are mightily entropic, as highlighted by ruins in the city’s more devastated areas; perhaps less visible to those outside Detroit are the soaring examples of architecture at the peak of wealth and industry, preserved in unparalleled beauty. All they lack is something to reflect their secret grandeur.
Enter artist Doug Aitken, reknowned for his large-scale interventions that deal directly with the soul of natural and manmade spaces. Over the last year and a half, Aitken developed an ambitious plan to reprise Mirage – his 2017 work of land art installed as part of Desert X in Palm Springs – within the 70,000 sq ft interior space of the historic State Savings Bank, which has sat unoccupied in the midst of downtown Detroit for several decades.
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Image: Conner MacPhee. Courtesy of the artist and Library Street Collective