Far Away, So Close: Talking to Detroit from Windsor's Broken City Lab
Viewed from across the river in Detroit, it must seem like a cruel taunt: Caesar's Casino in Windsor, its huge, bright red neon sign glowing next to a massive Jumbotron filled with beautiful people living large -- sipping cocktails, lounging on the beach, and, of course, gambling.
"This is the life you were meant to live" goes the on-screen sales pitch. Which, given hard-luck Detroit's descent ever deeper into economic armageddon recently -- subprime foreclosures, big-three automaker near-bankruptcies -- is nothing short of heartless.
So the good folks at Broken City Lab in Windsor are trying to make amends. Tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday, Broken City, an artist collective/urban activist team/"creative research group" (their preferred term) will be projecting messages of their own on the Daimler Chrysler building in downtown Windsor, which sits in plain view of Detroit across the river. While not exactly boosterish, it acknowledges what Caesar's blithley ignores: that in these down times, escapism isn't only foolhardy -- it's impossible.
Tonight's message? "We're in this together." Which, if not exactly hopeful, is at least realistic, and lets Detroit know: Someone out there understands.