City Project

Future Park I: Teach Me to Disappear is one part of a two-part project in abandoned parks. It involves a series of events that explores the nature of city-parks in relation to the ever changing social policy, economic, political and culture structure to imagine the post-capital city [1].Paul Elliman and Nicole Macdonald constructed part one of outdoor city project ‘Teach Me to Disappear’. In the project Elliman takes his existing enquiry of various unclaimed languages and signs, which may have unintentionally and consequently formed from man-made industrial and post-industrial systems, by focusing in on Detroit in collaboration with filmmaker Macdonald [1]. Detroit is of interest as it encapsulates a post-industrial city with crumbling infrastructure and drastically decreasing population.

From a shared standpoint Elliman and Macdonald explore Detroit’s abandoned Belle Isle Zoo, located on the largest city island park in America, designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted, the renowned New York Central Park landscape architect [1]. The closure of the zoo is seen as a typical symptom of Detroit’s decline, through the loss of funds and amenities. However these city projects bring life back to the area through the public to engage and reflect in changing public spaces and understanding that Detroit should strive to be a smaller entity than going back to its 1950s state [1]. Furthermore, using an abandoned zoo creates urban revitalization, creating a new use and character for the empty space. Elliman and Macdonald, not only want viewers to witness a image of failure of civilization but also to encounter the untouched eco-system, the unmanaged and wild flora and fauna, that has evolved from it [1]. The large range of wildlife reflects a different Detroit thriving in the secret wilderness in place of the public zoo.

 

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Fig. 1: One of Elliman & Macdonald’s installation in Belle Isle Zoo [1].
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Fig. 2: Another Elliman & Macdonald’s installation in Belle Isle Zoo [1].


Work Cited:

  1. Elliman, P., Macdonald, N,  & Van Der Heijden. (2010). Future Park I – Teach Me to Disappear. Retrieved from http://cascoprojects.org/future-park-i-teach-me-to-disappear

List of Figures:

  1. Elliman, P., Macdonald, N,  & Van Der Heijden. (2010). Future Park I – Teach Me to Disappear. Retrieved from http://cascoprojects.org/future-park-i-teach-me-to-disappear
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