MINNEAPOLIS – May 31, 2014, 7:00 – 11:00 p.m. – Multi-media installation and spoken word performances complete the finale for current exhibit “If These Walls Could Talk.” This debut of photographer, Cameren Torgerud’s latest series chronicles his Urban Exploring adventures. He has just begun to explore the United States in pursuit of some of the rarest sights, documenting abandoned buildings that defy entrance by the average citizen – some since demolished. Gamut Gallery immediately realized the relevance of his work and devised a plan to sponsor his way to a frontline city on the dispute over urban decay. As Torgerud’s photographs of early and mid-century American ruins hang on the gallery walls, Gamut sends him to document Detroit’s tarnished gems before the wrecking ball strikes.
From the earliest discussions of this exhibit, Gamut Gallery Director, Jade Patrick felt one city was missing. After enthusiastic responses to the idea of a travel sponsorship for this emerging artist, and after learning more details about Detroit’s current urban challenges, it became clear that Torgerud must go there. A group of architects that visited the gallery pointed out the time sensitivity of the project in the face of mass demolition. Further research into these shocking details were enough to convince the entire Gamut board that now is the time. With the final approval from Torgerud, plans were laid for an expedition within just a few weeks time.
Every day in Detroit more “blighted” structures are torn down in a covertly controversial money grab for $100 million in Federal funds. According to Capitol Reporter Jonathan Oosting, the funds were diverted into blight demolition from a foreclosure relief TARP offshoot called the Hardest Hit Fund. Not even a fifth of the 500 million awarded to Detroit has actually gone to programs for struggling homeowners. Residents do welcome demolition of fire-prone, structurally unsafe, rat or criminal-filled properties that make children afraid to walk to school. However, there are a significant amount of buildings that neighbors are fighting to keep. Some of these structures exemplify the finest in early American architecture, yet lay vulnerable to vandalization as their historical landmark applications are held up in bureaucratic delay. Many controversial tear-downs are slated for demolition in months or weeks.
Gamut member and videographer Caleb Timmerman will accompany Torgerud, collecting documentation and audio samples on site. The sounds of each unique location will be mixed into a musical composition by staff and students of Slam Academy: an electronic music school that shares space with Gamut Gallery. The resulting ambient soundscape will accompany projections of the photographs captured in Detroit. The installation will be shown for one night only in the Gamut Studio below the Gallery, during the exhibit finale. A limited number of prints of the projected works will be available for pre-order. Framed art may be taken at the end of the night or delivered.
Spoken word artists have been invited to respond to the theme surrounding the current situation in Detroit and perform other original works. Featured artists include: Neil Hilborn, Crxo Apollo, Christopher Shillock, Nikolas Martell, Paul Canada & Oliver Renee Schminkey.
This event and Cameren Torgerud’s travel to Detroit have been made possible by a generous sponsorship from the following companies: Green Rock Apartments / Altus Architecture / Isenberg + Associates / Pabst Blue Ribbon