Friday, February 15, 2008

Stephen William Schudlich

Urban Picked Up Paper Color Chart, 2007
Paper, Digital Output, Acrylic Cube

This chart is comprised of color information tiles representative of waste paper found on the streets surrounding the intersection of Woodward Ave. and Mack Ave./MLK Jr. Blvd. Data was collected throughout July of 2007.

I create maps. Many are constructed from data that I collect when I walk and drive around the city of Detroit; data and clues that speak to what’s going on and, what’s not going on. These pieces are put together in a very clinical and scientific way yet, with a tongue in cheek brand of humor, in visual pieces as a means of making the information engaging and accessible to the user.

I’m a fourth generation Detroiter. And so I spent a lot of time within the city of Detroit. When driving around the city, my father would always take what was called the “long way.” The long way always facilitated a visual candy store of things to see. People on the street, great architectural wonders, the ball park, Eastern Market, Michigan Avenue, all that sort of stuff. That love of exploring still exists in trhe work that I produce today. I enjoy driving through the city of Detroit, through its urban areas, through its blight-affected communities. I have this fascination with these places and, I like to record the visual stories and the material that I see there. I take my son with me on these trips now. He’s only three. He probably won’t remember a lot of it. He does remember, however, when he sees a house that’s broken, he will tell me, “Dad, that house is broken.” He has a real keen awareness of that. He also says that, “They need to fix that house.” My son is the smartest person in the car on those trips. I look at this information, and I want to make it available to people.

I’m not an activist, I don’t have a political agenda, but I do foster the idea that perhaps some of these charts and installations can be put before people who may have a voice or may have the ability to affect a positive change in a community that clearly needs so much of it today. I have this fascination with this city that I was raised in, and that my ancestors were raised in and had such a foothold in. It’s in me historically, it’s in me genetically.

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