Rerooting the Motor City

PHOTO: Charity Hicks of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network talks to Paper Tiger about home-grown urban agriculture initiatives in her city.

For the last couple weeks I’ve been supporting Paper Tiger TV’s latest full-length production which aims to debunk all the lazy media memes swirling around Detroit’s empty epicenter. I wrote the blurb below to help get a conversation started before the documentary premiers at the Allied Media Conference in Detroit this weekend.

Rerooting the Motor City: notes on a city in transformation

The Motor City was the first industrial boom town in America to experience massive corporate disinvestment. And in the wake of the global financial crash in 2008, two long-festering narratives went viral.

On one hand media makers relished in pornographic ruin, documenting empty factories and abandoned homes as a spectacle of urban decay. On the other hand Detroit was celebrated as a playground for young and privileged creatives to rebuild. Inclusionary, home-grown alternatives faded into obscurity.

Screening for the first time at the Allied Media Conference in Detroit June 2012, Paper Tiger debunks these media myths and charts communities’ reactions to gentrifying forces. PTTV ventures outside mainstream cultural frames, plotting the racially-fraught history alongside devoted efforts of reclamation. At the ground level, a radical transformation of human relationships is taking root.

Follow the latest screenings and discussions at reroutingthemotorcity.tumblr.com.

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