Exhibition Run: 3 October - Sunday 2 November 2003

Artist: co-curated with Diana Baldon

Curated by Emily Pethick

Kyong Park founded the International Center for Urban Ecology in Detroit in 1998 as a nomadic laboratory for future cities. Since 1960, Detroit has lost half of its population [one million inhabitants] and demolished over 200,000 housing units. The ICUE was set up as an interdisciplinary experimental forum that would generate different projects on contemporary urban crises and their possible futures. Working from the near eastside of Detroit, ICUE have produced number of works that critique, illuminate and proposition designs and theories, and have involved the participation of artists, architects, students and the local community. These projects have included the demolishing and recycling of derelict houses into new constructions that are sold or rented at affordable prices, and urban design for the regeneration of land and self-sufficiency of inhabitants through the remedial process of urban agriculture. At Cubitt Park will present Detroit: Making It Better For You (2001): a two-channel video that tells a fictional account of a fifty year long urban conspiracy to destroy and bankrupt Detroit so that it could be redeveloped profitably today. The video suggests the war between the sustainability of the local community against the greed of the global economy, the struggles of grass-root community activism against the collusion of political and industrial controls.

 Marjetica Potrc’s work focuses on various small-scale and individual initiatives that have been developed in cities globally in order to improve basic living conditions. Her interests are in the potential of self-sustainable, innovative design and infrastructure solutions, mixing low- and high-tech approaches, to foster individual empowerment and self-reliance. Potrc cites forms of city-dwelling, such as shantytowns and gated communities, as the two most successful forms of living in the contemporary city. Over the past six months Potrc has been working as part of the Caracas Case Project. Caracas used to be one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, which has progressed into a post-planning state due to the invasion of barrios into the formal planned city. Anchored like medieval fortresses on the surrounding hillsides, these informal settlements subvert established notions of land ownership by reclaiming public space for private use and bringing the rural into the urban with agricultural initiatives. Defence architecture is everywhere in today∂s Caracas, in both formal and informal city. At Cubitt Potrc will present a series of drawings that analyse the nature and structure of barrios, and her video In Praise of the Dry Toilet (2003), a study of the economy of water in Caracas, the city∂s most valuable and sought after commodity.

Kyong Park founded Storefront for Art & Architecture in New York in 1982, and has been based in Detroit since 1998. His project 24620: The Fugitive House (2001-), is an empty house from Detroit that has been reconstructed in seven European cities. Park is currently participating as an artist and curator of Shrinking Cities, organised by the Federal Cultural Foundation, Berlin.

Marjetica Potrc is an artist and architect based in Ljubljana. Her work has been exhibited throughout Europe and the United States at Guggenheim Museum, New York (2001); Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2001); Max Protetch Gallery, NewYork (2002); Generali Foundation, Vienna (2002); and Venice Biennale (2003). This year Potrc was part of CARACAS-CASE and the culture of the informal city, a project by the Federal Cultural Foundation of Germany and the Caracas Think Tank.