Detour in Detroit will be a resident-driven guide book to the new American frontier, to a place where ruins are rooms for ideas.

My name is Francesca Berardi. I live in New York, where I work as a journalist for an Italian newspaper and newswire. I write mostly about America's politics and news, but since my background is in contemporary art, I love to write about arts and culture and I'm also working in the art field. Last year I curated with a friend an exhibition for the Manifesta Biennal, in Belgium. It took place in a former coal mine area, and I experienced how contemporary art can bring new life and ideas to areas where industry was the only resource.

I am so interested in industrial and post industrial cities that have to reinvent their present and future, because I am from one of those places: Turin, Italy. Along with a lot of my fellow citizens, I am a "daughter" of the automotive industry, a daughter of Fiat, and since I arrived in the US I wanted to discover the Motorcity of America: Detroit.

A city that embodied a futuristic utopia on four wheels which is now declaring bankruptcy.

At first glance Detroit could seem dead, with the ghost of the economic wealth wandering between the hope of the 700,000 residents. It is a city where you can buy a house, not to mention an entire building, for few thousand dollars. It is a city that hosts one of the best public art collection in the United States, which is at risk of being lost to debts owed.

Detroit seems to be the new American frontier for those who want to bet on opportunity. Fiat has bet, and it is rewriting the future of Chrysler. Big real estate investors are betting, and they have promised to revive the economic and financial centre. Many young graduates and artists are betting, because in Detroit they can afford a home or a studio where they can build their future.

I want to bet, because I think that this is a city that deserves to be discovered.

So I decided to write a guide book.

It will have both practical and artistic value. Not being from Detroit I don't presume to create a guide by myself, but I will find several local people with different backgrounds to accompany me and the reader along their favorite itineraries, along their idea of Detroit, and their way to experience it.

I want to involve a photographer for each story, a group of artists based in Detroit or who have a vision of the city. At the end of the book I want to provide readers of a practical appendix, of all the places that will be mentioned.

To cover all the expenses for this project I anticipate needing $10,000. I will travel to Detroit, hire both the local photographers and a local graphic designer, print a minimum number of copies hoping to find a publisher. My goal is to crate a very great and useful book (great stories, great itineraries, great pictures!) and being able to distribute it locally and online for a small price to promote Detroit as a place to discover as much as possible. Then It would be wonderful to create a travelling exhibition with a selection of the pictures, to bring around the book and a vision of the city.

If you can contribute...thank you! If you can't, you can still make some noise about this campaign or write me your comments or suggestions (

Don't let Detroit fade away!

Click HERE to help bring Detrour Detroit to life! 


Anonymous said...

awesome idea

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