18 September 2006

Object Orange

In a fascinating case study of the psychological use of colour, a group of Detroit artists have taken to painting abandoned buildings in their city bright orange.

An article in Good magazine informs us that Object Orange are waging this example in spontaneous activism in order to rescue the symptoms of urban blight from invisibility. Orange is impossible to ignore. The colour is an extension of the safety signs often erected around the buildings to deter the curious from getting too close. While the community waits for the city to take action and rehabilitate or demolish the abandoned buildings, many make handy locations for drug deals and other illegal activity. From a list of over 7,000 abandoned buildings, fewer than 2,000 are slated for destruction.

It did the trick. Within days, four of the first 11 orange houses were demolished.

I think of Detroit as the city of huge car factories producing huge cars, now severely affected by the collapse of the manufacturing industry. I know it was the adopted home town of John Lee Hooker and was once host to a vibrant blues scene. My only recent image of Detroit is probably the film “8 Mile”, a portrayal which probably didn’t please members of the city council.

“Our part is starting conversations," says member Jacques. "Some people do Outreach. We paint houses orange.”

Photo via Paul Kotula Projects.

1 comment:

I am the Queen of F*%&ING EVERYTHNG...OK!! said...

I kind of like the idea, think it would piss my neighbours off it I did likewise?? LMAO