plant (2012)

plant premiered at the Detroit Institute of the Arts on January 20th and continued on extended run through April 29.

The piece is a two-screen installation that explores the Packard Plant in Detroit in a painterly 3D rendering that paradoxically derives from 18,000 photographs.

plant is an immersive 3D exploration of the huge factory ruins of the long-abandoned Packard Plant in Detroit. It builds on the spatialization of many thousands of photographs to create a haunting non-photorealistic space of “point-clouds,” into which traces of the original shots sometimes hover. As the artwork moves through the fractured space of the ruins, the viewers encounter remnants of the past (factory floors, discarded cabinets, empty elevator shafts) as well as the surprising evidence of ongoing activity there (graffiti sprayed on the walls, the sound of birdsong, distant voices, and even shotgun blasts echoing through the emptied spaces).

plant is a virtual memorial to a grand urban site that is slowly collapsing and now threatened with complete demolition. The squalor of the contaminated material ruins is transcended by the beauty of the light and the intricate spaces to be glimpsed there, so that some of the scenes in plant take on the unexpected beauty of stained glass windows or Cubist paintings, though always in fleeting rather than fixed renderings.