We recently completed ‘UNITED > DIVIDED’ - our interactive, evolving installation created for Thinkspace Gallery’s ‘LAX/DTW: Detroit Hustle II’ exhibition which opened at Inner State Gallery on June 30, 2017 in Detroit, MI.
This 270-degree experience developed as a three-phase progression, beginning with the initial ‘Divided’ phase. At the event’s opening, we invited friends, artists, and the general public to participate in the artwork’s evolution by painting colorful peace signs and positive messages over the floor on one half of the ‘X’ (a symbol for division).
Our intention was to create a genuine experience of people working together to celebrate shared creativity, positivity, and sense of community. A seemingly small gesture of inviting people into our home studio to paint on the floor side-by-side was a humbling and rewarding experience overflowing with positive energy!
The ‘Greater Than’ ( > ) phase emerged as a result of the public’s involvement, and in the week that followed, we transitioned the installation into its final phase, ‘Unified.’ The resulting colorful peace sign leans on its side, a dual expression of the planet’s wavering environmental state and hope for a resurgence of solidarity. We installed living plants and flowers sourced from Eastern Market, creating a juxtaposition of Detroit’s discarded layers and Mother Nature’s revival.
The underlying inspiration for the artwork was our reaction to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and we were motivated to highlight what we as individuals are capable of through unification, continued proactivity, and perseverance from the community level up. The fight against catastrophic climate change begins and ends with us, and we must come together in the name of Mother Earth!
We created and built UNITED > DIVIDED in our home studio and used approximately 90% repurposed and natural materials that the we began collecting in the fall of 2014. Some of these pieces of Detroit are now the remaining memories of venues and buildings that have since been demolished.
Special thanks to our friends: Andrew & Shawn from Thinkspace Gallery for curating this amazing event / Jesse, Roula, Dan, Craig and our family at Inner State Gallery & 1xRun for everything behind the scenes / Logan Merry for his sweet 'leggs' and construction skills / Leah Rutt for being a badass organizer / Ellen Rutt for her interactive expertise / Drummer B for harnessing the flow / Lizzy Workman for her classy cocktails & wit / Mike Popso and Paul Johnson for the sweet flicks / and last but not least, Lola from Lot 40 for keeping us boozed and helping us make this a successful event!