Current Reblogger: Chloë Bass

Chloë Bass is an artist, curator and community organizer based in Brooklyn. She is the co-lead organizer for Arts in Bushwick (, which produces the ever-sprawling Bushwick Open Studios, BETA Spaces, and performance festival SITE Fest, which she founded. Recent artistic work has been seen at SCOPE Art Fair, CultureFix, the Bushwick Starr Theater, Figment, and The Last Supper Art Festival, as well as in and around the public spaces of New York City. She has guest lectured at Parsons, the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, and Brooklyn College. Other moments have found her co-cheffing Umami: People + Food, a 90 person private supper club; growing plants with Boswyck Farms (; and curating with architecture gallery SUPERFRONT ( Chloë holds a BA in Theater Studies from Yale University, and an MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Arts (PIMA) from Brooklyn College.

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Yesterday on Urban Comparisons, PBS raised the question I'm surprised more people haven't asked sooner: "Is Detroit the new Brooklyn?" As we discuss and display in DETROIT: A BROOKLYN CASE STUDY (, making a direct comparison between the two places is futile. Yes, there are similarities, and I'm glad that people finally seeing these similarities may be sparking a revitalization of Detroit. However, being the next Brooklyn may not be ideal. Already, Brooklyn has faced change at the level of debilitating displacement, all in the name of improving a creative community. I hope Detroit will prove to be something even more sustainable, and that the slower gentrifcation process may allow change that's a little wiser for long-term flourishing at a variety of levels, not an alarming rash of locavore restaurants and cute boutiques.

Is Detroit the new Brooklyn?

July 7, 2011

Detroit's crumbling Packard plant. Photo: Flickr/Thomas Hawk

Last weekend, the New York Times featured a story in its Style section about the onslaught of hip, young urban pioneers streaming into downtown Detroit. These “creatives,” as they are being called, are taking advantage of low rents and the opportunity to recycle this abandoned, blank slate of an urban landscape into something new and exciting. There are restaurateurs and entrepreneurs of all stripes living alongside environmentalists and urban farmers.  The city, according to the Times, seems like “a giant candy store for young college graduates wanting to be their own bosses.” One woman said that there’s a cool party just about every evening.  The article pointed out that even though recent census figures show that Detroit’s overall population shrank by 25 percent in the last 10 years, downtown Detroit experienced a 59 percent increase in the number of college-educated residents under the age of 35.

No doubt this is partly a word-of-mouth, grass-roots “movement.”  But behind the scene, millions of public, private and foundation dollars are greasing the wheels. Last April, Blueprint America profiled an effort called Live Midtown, an incentive program created to lure some of the 30,000 employees of midtown’s major anchor institutions (Wayne State University, Detroit Medical Center and Henry Ford Health System) to move from the suburbs back into the city. By the end of June, 178 people were reported to have taken advantage of deep discounts on rent ($2,500 the first year and $1,000 the second) or purchases ($20,000 toward the purchase of their primary residence). We also looked at an effort by the mayor’s office to use federal stimulus money to lure members of Detroit’s police force out of the ’burbs and back into town.

And more incentives are on the way. Dan Gilbert, the founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, for instance, is one of the city’s biggest boosters.  He calls his revitalization effort “Detroit 2.0” and seems to be putting his money (more than $100 million by some estimates) where his mouth is. Gilbert recently moved Quicken Loans’ headquarters (and the 2,000 employees who worked there) out of a nearby suburb into downtown Detroit.  And he’s in the process of buying four historic buildings which he plans to fill with tech and web-based companies, some of which will no doubt come from Bizdom U, an “entrepreneurial boot camp” Gilbert started several years ago. Biz U offers graduates financing opportunities of up to $100,000 if they base their start-up in Detroit.

And it’s not just the style writers who are paying attention to Detroit’s new entrepreneurial class. Just three years ago, Forbes placed Detroit on top of its list of America’s Most Miserable Cities. But in a stunning turnaround, this month Forbes put Detroit on the cover as one of the Best Places for Doing Business, calling it “a land of opportunity.”



detroit WANTS to be the new

detroit WANTS to be the new brooklyn. but, honestly, why would you move brooklyn so far from... brooklyn? sorry, I was just in detroit and it's still detroit. it has a long way to go before it's even half of brooklyn. keep trying!

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Architecture gallery SUPERFRONT ("promoting contemporary architecture for an interdisciplinary world") is opening their exhibit DETROIT: A BROOKLYN CASE STUDY on the ground in Detroit next week. The exhibit invites dialog between cities, using Brooklyn and Detroit as a connective example for misreadings and interventions.

To support the exhibit, donate to the Kickstarter campaign (running through July 15!) here:

For other SUPERFRONT projects, one I particularly like is founder and director Mitch McEwen's Manifesto KIT, created for the New Museum's recent Festival of Ideas for the New City. See more here:

DETROIT: A BROOKLYN CASE STUDY opens July 14th at Marygrove College

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June 8th, 2011


SUPERFRONT is proud to announce that DETROIT: A BROOKLYN CASE STUDY, an exhibit of art and conceptual architecture that focuses on Detroit as an urban situation of transformation, will open at July 14th at Marygrove College. DETROIT: A BROOKLYN CASE STUDY | July 14 – August 26, 2011 | 8425 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit, MI [...]

SUPERFRONT is proud to announce that DETROIT: A BROOKLYN CASE STUDY, an exhibit of art and conceptual architecture that focuses on Detroit as an urban situation of transformation, will open at July 14th at Marygrove College.

DETROIT: A BROOKLYN CASE STUDY | July 14 – August 26, 2011 | 8425 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit, MI 48221

DETROIT: A BROOKLYN CASE STUDY, an original interdisciplinary SUPERFRONT exhibit, considers Detroit both as a specific city and as a set of circumstances. Detroit: A Brooklyn Case Study invites not so much a comparison of Detroit and Brooklyn but a calculated misreading. How and where might the logics or circumstances of Detroit operate in Brooklyn? At what scale of intervention or performance could Detroit and Brooklyn become indistinguishable?

This exhibit investigates Detroit as not only a given typology – the shrinking city, abandoned city, reclaimed city – but also as an everyday environment, as a specific place with specific moments. Through cartography, documentary video, architectural proposals, photography, painting and other media, DETROIT: A BROOKLYN CASE STUDY explores urban typology and local specificity between places both known and imagined.  From intimately personal representations of Detroit to abstract mappings or urban-scale analogies, the exhibit produces a case study and one thread of an evolving dialog between Detroit and other cities.

The exhibit includes works by: Chloë Bass, Dana Bell, Brent Birnbaum, Berenika Boberska, Brennan Buck, Lynn Cazabon, Sara Conde, Philip Dembinski, Jill Desimini, David Freeland, David Karle, Erin Kasimow, Amanda Matles, Juan Alberto Negroni, Paper Tiger TV, Kaleena Quinn, Jon Stevens, Anusha Venkataraman, Margi Weir, Audra Wolowiec and others.

Within this exhibit across art, architecture, and urban documentary, SUPERFRONT also presents the 25 Inch RFP (Request for Proposals) – results from an international call to develop new construction at SUPERFRONT’s micro property in Detroit. This fall SUPERFRONT invited artists and architects to propose a buildable project for 25 square inches of Detroit, located at 13949 Evergreen Rd, Detroit, Michigan, purchased in partnership with LOVELAND micro real estate. The winning entry, LIGHT UP! by Ellen E. Donnelly and David Karle, will be exhibited for the opening night only, before being installed at Everygreen Rd.  The selecting jury for the 25 inch proposals included Paul Amitai (New York), Andrea Bauza Hernandez (San Juan), Christina Heximer (Detroit), Jerry Paffendorf (Detroit), and Craig L. Wilkins, PhD AIA, ARA, (Detroit).

DETROIT: A BROOKLYN CASE STUDY opens July 14, with a reception from 5:00 – 7:30 PM. The exhibit will remain on view through August 26, 2011.

This exhibit is enabled by the SUPERFRONT Board of Directors.  The exhibition is free and open to the public, and will take place in The Gallery on the fourth floor of the Liberal Arts Building at Marygrove College. Email for more information.


SUPERFRONT is a not-for-profit space for architectural experimentation and creative interdisciplinary exchange. Open in Brooklyn since January 2008, SUPERFRONT opened an additional satellite gallery at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles in the summer of 2009.


Founded by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) in 1905, Marygrove College is an independent liberal arts college and a Catholic institution of higher learning committed to developing leaders for the new global society. The main campus is situated on 53 wooded acres in northwest Detroit.

8425 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit, MI 48221

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Eyebeam's Digital Daycamp 2011 starts today! We have 20 high school students coming in from around the city to work with us. Follow our progress on the DDC2011 Tumblr:

About DDC

DIGITAL DAY CAMP (DDC): Students enrolled in Eyebeam’s DDC summer program engage in lectures and hands-on workshops focusing on art and technology tools, careers in the field, and relevant social and artistic topics. Through their investigations, students have the opportunity to research current themes in art and technology, and develop projects in response to what they discover.

During Digital Day Camp 2011, 20 NYC teens will spend 3-weeks working under the guidance of a team of creative mentors to produce a series of deep, media-rich stories about our NYC neighborhoods. Their stories will become part of a web-based, interactive map that could include photographs, drawings, videos, music, games, words, infographics, etc—we are limited only by our imagination.
Final projects will be presented at a public event organized and promoted by Eyebeam.

DDC activities are led by invited technology professionals, contemporary artists, and Eyebeam’s current residents and fellows. Participants in past programs have engaged in project-based learning around themes of bio-tech, urban intervention, gaming, and wearable technology.

DDC is open to NYC public high school students and applications are sent out during the month of May. The program is competitive, and participating students are paid a $25/day stipend, paid out at the program’s conclusion.

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Relational aesthetics and beyond: not so much a criticism or exposé of everyday behavior, but rather a survey of how it blurs boundaries. Is life increasingly doing the multidisciplinary thing that art is doing, thus making life more art than ever (or vice versa)? What, given these blurred boundaries, is truly an alternative practice?

To me, the choice of site is also very interesting. Essex Street Market is both a wonderful historic preservation and almost a kind of market theme park for an idealized Bloomberg-era New York.

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Building in shipping containers (as well as building out shipping containers) is nothing new. This retreat house interests me because through its construction, it has become no longer shippable. Rather than integrating a permanently shippable aspect into the design, the materials have been made usable for aesthetics in a way that limits functionality.

In contrast, the Singapore Takeout ( maintains shipping functionality while also producing a high-end product. While the kitchen itself is perhaps not as aesthetically pleasing as some fancy restaurant kitchens, the food that it turns out appears to be just as drool-worthy.

If we're creating projects out of reclaimed materials, how much should we take the original life and functionality of those materials into account when planning a reinterpreted product?

Sri Lanka Shipping Container Retreat

by Christina Nellemann on June 27th, 2011. 32 Comments

A friend and fellow tiny house lover recently sent me this link from Container Home on this shipping container cabin retreat in Sri Lanka. The house was constructed with local reclaimed material in about a month by architect Damith Premathilake. The tiny house is located on an Army base and was built for a lieutenant colonel.

The 700 square foot retreat is constructed of two shipping containers, timber strips from old bunkers and weapons boxes and used railway sleepers. It is designed to embrace the views and climate of the surrounding environment, and create a place of relaxation and beauty while using already available resources.

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I'm interested right now in exploring the maximums and minimums of urban potential. I don't just want to look at organized activities (e.g. urban gardening with CSAs), but also at taking advantage of already naturally occurring phenomena. In most cities, fruit trees are planted because they produce beautiful flowers in the spring, fulfilling a completely reasonable desire for urban beautification, in addition to the sustainable side effect of cleaner air. The fruit is a mostly lost byproduct of the flowers -- so much so that in New York, we plant Callery pear trees that have been bred not to fruit, and no one except the very young expects to see cherries on cherry trees.

In Seattle, the opposite is being -- to use their word -- "optimized": fruit from city trees is collected and used to feed urban dwellers. Fruit producing trees are a mappable resource. This reminds me of the more grassroots (forgive the pun) LA-based group Fallen Fruit (

What would this look like in a city with lots of land for trees, like Detroit? There is no lack of space, and relatively few people to feed per square mile (given standard urban population expectations). Some combination of organizing the planting of fruit trees and taking advantage of existing land and the fruit on those trees could produce one of the most widespread, effective urban fruit harvests imaginable: a city with a maximized fruit-to-housing ratio.

Seattle’s City Fruit Maps Fruit Trees

by Tom Alexander on June 23, 2011 · 0 comments

Photo credit: BinaryApe Flickr Photostream

Photo credit: BinaryApe Flickr Photostream

City-grown fruit is a community resource for the city of Seattle. Since most residential tree owners can’t—or don’t—use all the fruit grown on their properties, much of it falls to the ground and rots. In addition, much of the fruit grown in urban landscapes is infested with preventable pests.

City Fruit works neighborhood by neighborhood to help residential tree owners grow healthy fruit, to harvest and use what they can, and to share what they don’t need. City Fruit collaborates with others involved in local food production, climate protection, horticulture, food security and community-building to protect and optimize urban fruit trees.

City Fruit is a non-profit corporation with a tax exempt status (501c[3]). It is supported by donations, memberships, class fees, sales and grants.

In 2010, City Fruit harvested and distributed more than 10,000 pounds of fruit. This year, they hope to do even more by creating an online fruit tree mapping site where Seattle residents can enter on a map the location of fruit trees in their neighborhood.

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Thanks, Tim Clark, for all of your great reblogging! And a big warm welcome to Chloë Bass, one of our new teaching artists here at Eyebeam. Chloë is an artist, curator and community organizer, the co-lead organizer for Arts in Bushwick (, which produces the ever-sprawling Bushwick Open Studios, BETA Spaces, and performance festival SITE Fest, which she founded.

ReBlogged by: 
Chloë Bass
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June 23rd – 25th
@ 319 Scholes Brooklyn, NY

Bent is an annual art and music festival celebrating circuit bending and its related creative practices: DIY electronics, hardware hacking, glitch, code bending, software art, abstract video. Now in its 8th year, the festival is a public summit where artists from across the country and around the globe gather to share their craft through performances, workshops, video screenings, art exhibitions, and installations, showcasing the state of the art in DIY electronics and circuit bending culture.

If you’re the slightest bit curious about electronics, electronic music, handmade electronic art, or if you’ve ever just really wanted to rip your toys apart, Bent Festival is here. On Friday the 24th and Saturday the 25th, we are offering a range of presentations and workshops including the infamous intro to circuit bending workshop with expert benders on hand to help you get started. There will be installation artists building circuit-bent artwork throughout the 319 Scholes space. In the evening, a full program of video works and live performances showcases a hand picked selection of some of the best circuit benders in the world. Wonder seekers of all-ages are welcome.

What is Circuit Bending?

Circuit bending refers to the act of the creative “short circuit”, a process that began through modifying the circuitry of battery-powered children’s toys to create strange, outlandish, unintended, and unpredictable sounds. This re-appropriation of objects of a digital youth has grown in popularity as it offers an affordable, culturally accessible path into the creation of electronic music and sound art. Performers wrangle squelches, bleeps, groans, and blips out of everyday childhood toys in addition to producing fragmented and abstract images from video games systems, digital cameras, and by directly hacking computer files. This is fun to watch, and fun to do.

Circuit bending is the direct result of experimentation, exploration, and play. Almost no technical know-how is needed to get started, making circuit bending accessible to a wide audience who may be curious about electronic art, but feel intimidated by the steep learning curve or passivity of the traditional performance setup.

Curatorial Statement

8 years ago, when The Tank unleashed Bent Festival upon the unsuspecting world, curiosity and enthusiasm for Circuit Bending was on like the Big Bang. Chaos, chance, exploration, “anti-theory”, and the punk inspired impulse to remake something through “breaking” it fueled a fiery frenzy that scorched the shelves of thrift stores and surplus electronics depots, leaving shelves bare and bedroom electronics studios smoldering with the thick smoke of solder and melting plastic. Bent Festival brought together that critical mass of closet tinkerers both seasoned and nubile, and what ensued was total annihilation of the old forms of sonic tradition.

Today, that hot universe has cooled and we find an array of galaxies; the energy that inspired a generation of electronics junkies has manifest in practices beyond circuit bending. We find an embracing of the unexpected and an appreciation for the beauty of the intentionally corrupted manifesting in the glitch movement, which abstracts the gesture of short circuiting a battery powered toy into the process of changing the data structure of a file; Circuit Bending becomes Code Bending. Many of those who began their relationship with electronics through circuit bending find themselves learning the language and begin building their own circuits but with an appreciation for the unexpected; Circuit Bending merges with the DIY movement.

Circuit Bending has matured from a wild phenomenon into a unique and formalized process or anarchy and reappropriation, where subjectivity and community shape individual approaches. Electronics, through circuit bending, becomes a personal narrative and the resulting creative output reflects this situation of the individual within a culture saturated with electronic technologies. The performances, installations, artwork, presentations, workshops, and videos presented in this year’s Best Festival evidence the hand of the artist manifesting in intentionally induced systemic corruption—in data, software or hardware—both in self-made systems and through the modification of a ready-made systems.

Installations and Artwork

The installation artists will come to their respective spaces with a plan and their materials, but will create their entire bent artistic works live over the course of the week. The artists will be working during festival hours, tweeking and tending to their master works, providing the public an insider’s look into their creative process. Many of the installations are participatory and interactive! Additionally artwork from circuit bent imaging devices, data bends, and about circuit bending will adorn the walls of the festival venue.

Workshops and Presentations

Expert benders, including but not limited to our installations artists, will be on-hand throughout the week to help you get started in this amazingly easy and fun process. The FREE Intro to Circuit Bending Workshop will happen on the 25th. Checkout the selections of presentations and workshops and reserve your seat HERE

Evening programming: Concerts and Video Screening

Each night of the festival, a number of national and international acts will perform music that involves circuit bent instruments, custom-made electronics and/or battery-powered electronic devices. Between performances, a selection of short video works by international artists will be screened, highlighting a range of audio visual techniques involving intentional misuse of traditional video technologies. The music will represent a wide range of genres from dance influenced electronic, electronics-based indie-pop acts to abstract, experimental soundscapes, and uncaged noise.

View the full schedule HERE

Purchase tickets HERE

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June 18th Woodstock, VT

The 2011 Woodstock Digital Media Festival will explore and showcase some of the most important and accessible work taking place in digital media today.


These three elements will form the foundation of the festival program. Like a stool built on three legs, the WDMF will be built on its three strands and foster the interaction of people and ideas from these different areas of work.

In order to focus this interaction of professionals and bring coherence to the public exhibition of work, the 2011 festival will be organized around a topical theme:


Location draws us together and separates us. It forms the basis for common interests and concerns whether the place we gather be geographical or virtual. Even those traditional barriers are increasingly blurred - mobile computing allows us to enter virtual worlds wherever we are, and augmented reality brings the physical into virtual realms. Many places have barriers to entry, turning some of us into trespassers, while others prevent exit, making us strangers in our own land, or worse – prisoners.

Out of place comes who we are, even as so many of us are out of place. 

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FIGMENT NYC June 10-12 Governors Island

FIGMENT is an annual free weekend-long participatory arts and creative culture event on NYC’s Governors Island, two-day events in Boston and Jackson, MS, and a one-day event in Detroit, with season-long exhibitions in NYC. Our mission is to provide a forum for the creation and display of participatory and interactive art from emerging artists in a variety of disciplines ranging from sculpture to visual art to music, performance, and multidisciplinary work: a celebration of creative culture. FIGMENT began in 2007 as a one-day event with 60 projects and 2,600 participants, and grew the following year into a three-day event with over 250 projects and 10,000 participants. By 2010, we had over 400 art projects and over 25,000 people. For FIGMENT 2011 we expect to expand further in an exciting and freewheeling exchange of creative culture, art, ideas and experiences.

FIGMENT is about participation. Precisely because it requires interaction between the art, the artist, and the viewer, participatory art can be a vehicle for personal and social transformation. The passive viewer is made active, contributing to the creation, understanding and very definition of the art. These activities bring together artists and community members in ways that build relationships and encourage individual creativity. We believe visitors of all ages and backgrounds have something to offer, and invite them to participate in installation art, costuming, interactive performance, games, activities, workshops, and anything else the mind can envision .

FIGMENT NYC suggests possibilities for the future of Governors Island, and public art in New York. Governors Island is an environment rich in history, redefining itself to be a place for the benefit of all New Yorkers. What better way to explore what the island can become than through art and creative culture? The most powerful art invites a dialogue between artist and audience; in this same spirit we hope New Yorkers will explore their relationship with the natural and historical treasures around them, beginning with Governors Island, the birthplace of the city.

FIGMENT is an antidote for uncertain times. Precisely because the commercial market for art is facing grave challenges in an uncertain economy, an event like FIGMENT is more important than ever, because it is built on community and not on commercialism. Participatory art expands the definition of “art” — art isn’t about creating an object that can be bought and sold, or creating a “show” that you pay to attend — it’s about creating a shared experience, free from the constraints and pressures of the marketplace. It’s about a celebration of creative culture. Lack of money should not be a barrier to creativity.

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