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Architectural Digest re-imagines Detroit with multimedia dreamscape

Featured at SiTE:LAB, Architectural Digest combines experimental art, architecture, lighting, design and storytelling into an imaginative and immersive look into a young girl's daydream.

/Courtesy of ACK!

About ACK!

ACK! is comprised of emerging multidisciplinary professionals who share common interests in entrepreneurial urban futures. Their work concerns itself with the radical reevaluation of contemporary urban existence, and seeks to elicit public engagement across varied and often unorthodox media. To facilitate this contrarian practice, they situate themselves in Detroit, MI – which they believe to be an epicenter for experimental urbanism and a hub for industrial processes, materials and space. The culmination of these forces; collaboration, place, and substance, seek to perpetually define both craft and the role of the practitioner within an increasingly complex professional existence. Their collective body of expertise consists of extensive architecture, design, and fine art production and is often the result of preeminent institutional commissions. Recent individual accomplishments include residencies, international exhibitions and long phase project funding.

ACK! consists of architect Aaron Jones, artist/2D designer Andrea Cardinal, artist/3D designer Christopher Schanck, journalist Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan and artist/3D designer Peter Beaugard–and is facilitated through the mentorship and support of Wesley Taylor and Waajeed.

/Courtesy of ACK!

/Courtesy of ACK!

Somewhat off the beaten ArtPrize path is 54 Jefferson Avenue, the location of this year’s SiTE:LAB venue.

The winner of best venue at last year’s competition, SiTE:LAB typically boasts some of the most impressive installations at ArtPrize, and this year is no different.

The standout installation this year is “Architectural Digest,” a multimedia collaboration from ACK!, a collection of artists, designers and architects from Detroit.

Their story is one of wild imagination, and begins as you are drawn to the dark, glowing room on your immediate right as you enter SiTE:LAB, the words “Architectural Digest” radiating into the lobby of the venue.

Teevee, the main character, is a young Detroit girl, out on a downtown stroll with her mother. As they travel, Teevee begins to generate an outlandish fantasy of one of her favorite Detroit landmarks:

“Sometimes, Teevee was certain monsters were eating the buildings in her city,” reads the text affixed to the 1st glass showcase. Behind the glass are Teevee’s imaginings of the skyline of Detroit with huge bites taken out of them.

As she walked, Teevee would think to herself “…oh here they just took a nibble”, other times surmising “they had really pig’d out.”

“Good Bones,” she had once heard a neighbor say, and “Just a skeleton” another time. Teevee couldn’t really understand why some buildings were gobbled up and others were left alone.  She began to think about the Guardian Building, and wondered if it too would meet the same fate.

As the story progresses, visual representations of the monsters appear, backlit by cleverly placed color changing lights within the display, and perfectly complementing the bizarre nature of Teevee’s daydream.

The main attraction in this curious and inventive installation is the intestines, a spiral tunnel of inflatable tubing that occupies most of the room. The tunnel features screen printed graphics on parts of the tubing, a wooden plank floor with melting pattern imprinted on them, and an ominous table at the end of the tunnel.

“Architectural Digest” is great not only because of the imagination behind the story, but the ability of its creators- led by architect Aaron Jones- to bring this daydream to such vibrant life. As one of the most creative uses of space within Site:Lab, this piece is accessible for both adults and children, and is a visual treat for all who choose make the trek from the typical downtown hotspots.  

For those who want to be immersed in Teevee’s Daydream as well as find out the fate of the Guardian Building, head down to 54 Jefferson before the monsters finish their meal.

The Voting Number for “Architectural Digest” is 55288.

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