[March 21 2014]
“The Republic” explores the proposed city plans of Greek urban planner Constantinos Doxiadis for both Athens and Detroit. In the early 1960s, Doxiadis was commissioned by the Greek military Junta to develop the master plan for Athens and to bring some order to the explosive post-war growth and urbanization the city was experiencing. In 1965, he was commissioned by Detroit Edison to lead the “Developing Urban Detroit Area Research Project.” The fall of the junta in 1974 and the Detroit riots of 1967 changed the historical trajectory of both cities and neither commission was realized.
The artist’s ongoing inquiry into the ideological implications of the built environment engages a variety of media. Central to the exhibition is the film “The Republic,” shot in both Athens and Detroit. The footage, set to a score by Sam Prekop, is montaged so that the locations become indiscernible and a hybrid city-state emerges. Interspersed at random moments throughout the film is a group of laborers who flip an automobile in a winter landscape as both an invocation of the myth of Sisyphus and a reenactment of civil disorder. Elsewhere in the gallery, full scale cast bronze acanthus plants sprout from the floor, and on the wall is a photograph of a cat who has begun to disappear under the glare of sodium vapor lamps. Photo Elise Gallant