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Motor City - Digital Materiality

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

Year: 2019

Artist: Ravin Raori

Collaborators: T+E+A+M studio Detroit

About: Motor city is a re-telling of the story of Detroit. The story takes place at abandoned factory in the city of Detroit. The site represents, in some ways the decay the city has experienced since its prosperous automobile industrial age in the 1940s and 50s. It was a time that earned the city the name of ‘Motor City’. Since then the city has fallen into ruin seeing a mass exodus of people over the decades. This coupled with the financial and housing crisis of 2007-2008 has left several of its buildings including iconic cultural and historic landmarks abandoned.


The site:

The site is an abandoned factory in the city. It used to be a power plant manufacturing jet and car engines. The site is in a state of ruin and materiality manifests as graffiti on the walls as the distinction between architectural and 'digital' materiality of space begins to blur.


Digital Materiality: Can we look at graffiti, textures and etching as materials beyond brick and concrete? What do these materials tells us? What stories of inhabitants past, present and future do they hold? Are they culturally relevant artefacts with spatial qualities of their own? The project takes these artefacts and manipulates them as digital materials within the virtual space, to reveal a narrative framework constructed through memories, street art, decay and time. This manipulations is achieved using fractal patterns created using a geometrical construction kit of squares, lines and triangles. The three elements combined with the textures and materials found on site are assembled in differential ways to create the varying programs within the virtual space.


Motor City: Follow the link above to experience the Motor City. The experience is meant as a space to explore and understand some (not all) of the cultural, political and historical activators of Detroit.



Ravin Raori


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