dflux (detroit research studio) is a trans-disciplinary residency program located in the Banglatown neighborhood of Detroit. facilitating independently directed research projects initiated on-site, our program brings creative thinkers of various disciplines to Detroit in hopes that they familiarize themselves with the greater Detroit environment and creative community through the intitiation of new projects.
while we do not encourage proposals, we do accept applications and select candidates based on interest, need for time & space or predilection for improvisational scholarship within an evolving culture-rich post-urban environment. every summer season we host a small number of individuals for open-ended self-directed research and prototyping projects in and around the studio neighborhood.
dflux now holds Summer Sessions (concurrent with Research Studio Residencies) also, please see the workshops tab!
(from phonebook 3 essay)
The idea for the dflux project started in 2009. We bought a house in Detroit for $100 in December of 2008 and between our offer being accepted and later closing on it, the house became famous, having been written up in the New York Times and being featured on 20/20, CNN and National Public Radio all within a few short months. The only positive part of all of this publicity for us was that our families and friends all around the country got a free tour of the house on national tv for about 7 minutes and, frankly, we thought the house was photogenic anyway - having been so badly burned, terribly water-damaged and complete with an 26 foot long "skylight" or hole in the roof courtesy of the Detroit Fire Department - so by all means, we thought, please broadcast the beautiful imagery to our loved ones far away.
So there we were: poor artists buying a s#!+ shack for virtually nothing in something much more like a $60k neighborhood and all of a sudden this was news? Why? Why now? Because the housing market was going bottom-up? Because we're white? Because we're artists and the crazy artists-will-save-this-old-factory-town story just feels too good and hopeful to ignore? Because of the mythology of "Feral Houses" or "Ruin Porn" made the idea of habitation seem too far out and too entertaining? We began to ask ourselves these questions and more.
In short we decided that we were simply more grist for the myth mill about Detroit, America's most "dangerous," "failed," and "hopeless" city. We became the feel-good-pop-song of the spring of 2009 at a time when the press started to look to spin the doom of the mortgage scandal crisis. So the house got famous and we started to get annoyed by the redundancy of questions and work on the house wasn't getting done courtesy of the press invasion (except for one lonely reporter at the top of the heap who asked if he could help me work on the house in order to get a feel for things and a better interview to boot). After repeatedly watching videographers shooting panning shots past the three great streets (of about 30 or so) full of badly neglected houses in our neighborhood through open van doors, it became clear we were all extras in their pre-written world. Our roles as "extras" came with speaking parts, as voice overs help counter the feeling that the only thing getting broadcast was sensationalistic and purely mythological.
This experience led us to found dflux. We thought about all of the stories our neighbors had and all that Detroit had to offer and realized that we couldn't archive this with a broad sweep (as national press is wont to do) but that we needed to invite people to explore this complicated city slowly and thoroughly. We'd already made a dining room table for 14 people out of the best formerly-snow-covered-attic-floor-planks we could recycle from our attic and we decided to try to raise some money so we can feed everyone and poof... DFLUX as we know it was taking shape. We raised $4000 on Kickstarter and invited 9 people (artists, musicians and architects) to stay in our house. Anyway that's how dflux started. We will continue to invite folks to come to our home and explore the complex city of Detroit in whatever way they see fit.