The Writer’s Block at the Detroit Institute of Arts


The Writer’s Block @ the DIA

Join HFS, family members and friends of incarcerated artists
SATURDAY, February 28th 1-3pm
In the DIEGO RIVERA COURT 2nd level of the DIA
Free and open to the public

The Writer’s Block is a poetry workshop at Macomb Correctional Facility (more background @HFS).  HFS facilitators and incarcerated artists have been collaborating over the last few years to compile various works of art to present to the public. With the support of the DIA this collaboration will come to fruition with an afternoon of poetry read by friends and family of Writer’s Block Poets. On display will be audio recordings, Writer’s Block publications and various works of art created by Writer’s Block artists and other incarcerated people over the last two years.

DJ Three Figures

DJ Waiting

The DIA Event was a SMASH

Thanks to all who attended and helped make the event a memorable one. We have had so much positive feedback that we intend to do it again next year. Special thanks to family and friends of Writer’s Block artists for the courageous and inspiring readings. Please stay tuned for the release of a collection of Writer’s Block poems and other artwork in book form.

Warmly in solidarity,
HFS and Writer’s Block

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Fight Tax Foreclosure


Tax Foreclosure
This year the city has given
61,881 property owners tax foreclosures
36,824 of those properties are occupied
2,570 “possibly occupied”…likely more…estimating 2-3 people in a home…
that’s 120,000 people with precarious housing security

MCL 211.10 – An Assessment of all the property in the state liable to taxation shall be made annually in all all townships, villages, and cities…

An real example of tax foreclosure:
Property foreclosed for delinquent taxes
Property sold to a bank in 2000 for $7000
Property sold by the bank to an individual in 2005 for $85,000
Foreclosed and sold to another bank in 2008 for $83,000
Sold by second bank to individual in 2009 for $4,800

2012 – Value for Taxation purposes $8528 = $584 taxes owed
2013 – Value for Taxation purposes $8016 = $549 taxes owed
2014 – Property Value Reassessed   $543 = $37 taxes owed

MCL 211.23a – …The purpose of such appraisal is to provide a uniform basis for the assessment of taxes throughout the county in order to apportion the burden of property taxes fairly and equitably among the owners of taxable property.

HB 5421 – …Before July 1, 2016, if the amount of unpaid delinquent taxes, interest, penalties, and fees for which a property was forfeited is greater than 50% of the state equalized valuation of the property and the property is subject to and in compliance with a delinquent property tax installment payment plan under section 78q(1) or a tax foreclosure avoidance agreement under section 78q(5), or both, the foreclosing governmental unit may reduce the amount of taxes, interest, penalties, and fees required to be paid to redeem the property under subdivision (3)(a) to an amount equal to 50% of the state equalized valuation of the property. If a property is redeemed by payment of the reduced amount under this subsection, any remaining unpaid taxes, interest, penalties, and fees for which the property was forfeited and otherwise payable shall be canceled by the county treasurer. A foreclosing governmental unit may not approve a reduction in the amount necessary to redeem property under this subsection if the reduction would cause noncompliance with section 87c(7) or otherwise impermissibly impair an outstanding debt of the county.

The State charges 18% interest on delinquent taxes…but taxes imply services…and the service of property reassessment for purposes of taxation, one service among many the state and city are obligated to perform, has not been performed, in some cases for decades. The bankrupt city of Detroit admits to being negligent on reassessment…Mike Duggan explains

Tools to find out the history of your property’s assessment
Detroit’s personal property tax information lookup – Here
Property Tax estimator – Here

THIS ACTION IS ONGOING…Join various activists groups NOW and FEB 2-4 @ COBO Hall and Help Eviction Defense Sign People Up to File Objections to Foreclosures.


Desert As Dividing Space: Walt Disney to Bill Gates

This will be a joint event between the HFS and 9338 Campau. After the presentation we will discuss if there is interest in a reading/discussion/project group around Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project.

“Desert As Dividing Space: Walt Disney to Bill Gates”
Steve's Arcades PictureAn artist project by Rose DeSloover

WHEN: 7pm, Sunday Feb 1 2015  WHERE: 9338 Joseph Campau

In reality, there is not one moment that does not bring with it its own revolutionary possibility—- it only wants to be defined as a specific one, namely as the chance for a totally new revolution in view of a totally new task. W. Benjamin


My introduction to Walter Benjamin came in 2001 through an NEH summer seminar at University of California, Irvine with Alexander Gelley, Professor of Comparative Literature. It was the title of the seminar that caught my attention, Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project, Commodity Fetishism, and the Aesthetics of the City, At the time I knew nothing about Walter Benjamin the philosopher. The six-week seminar with twenty scholars from all over country and from multiple disciplines started me in a direction that brings me to this spot today.

The seminar required each participant to deliver a “work-in-progress” relating to the work of Benjamin. I chose to present initial research into the L. Dream House, Museum, Spa and initial research into the gated communities of the Coachella Valley in southern California.

In 2010, as a part of a subsequent academic seminar Walls, Borders and Boundaries at Marygrove College, I expanded the Coachella Valley presentation into Desert As Dividing Space: Walt Disney to Bill Gates.

It is this presentation that I want to share as an introduction to Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project. In The Marvels of Walter Benjamin, the author J. M. Coetzee ends with this statement, The Arcades book, whatever our verdict on it — ruin, failure, impossible project—suggests a new way of writing about civilization, using its rubbish as material rather than its artwork: history from below rather than from above.

We are in the position of looking at the 20th century as Walter Benjamin looked at the 19th century. He used the “debris of mass culture” to read history. I am suggesting that one of the architectural patterns of the 20th century to be examined, under the influence of Walter Benjamin, are the gated communities of the California desert from their beginnings in the 1930’s to 1998.

Rose E. DeSloover

The Birth of the Pharmacy and the Art of Mental Disorder

This course runs a slightly more than tangent line to some of the issues of mental health and pharmacology. We will examine the birth of the clinic and the pharmacy from historical and philosophical perspectives, and nervously scratch at the skin of the sociologic of mental health and mental health treatment. We live in a world where a growing number of people take prescription drugs, prescribed or not, and a substantial portion of the population self-medicates in some capacity. We will attempt to locate some of the boundaries of pharmacological supplementation and we will explore the industrial and institutional pharmacological apparatuses. The hope is to challenge the approach common to contemporary medical practices around mental health that seek to “normalize” neurophysiology under the banner of “chemical balances” despite the fact that patients almost never have a medical neurochemical profiling.

Canguilhem – The Normal and the Pathological
First Discussion: Feb 7th @ 12pm (140 Atkinson St, Detroit)
(Section 2, Chapter 1 “From the Social to the Vital”, pgs 237-256 )
Second Discussion: Feb 14th @ 12pm (140 Atkinson St, Detroit)
(Section 2, Chapter 2 “On Organic Norms in Man”, pgs 257-274)

FoucaultThe Essential Works Vol 1: Ethics and Subjectivity &  The Birth of the Clinic
Third Discussion: March 7th @ 12pm (11627 Klinger St. Hamtramck)
(“Hermeneutics of the Subject” & “Self Writing”)
Forth Discussion: March 14th @ 12pm (140 Atkinson St. Detroit)
(“Crisis in Fevers”)

Fifth Discussion: March 21th @ 12pm (140 Atkinson St. Detroit)
(“Plato’s Pharmacy”, pgs 61-171)
Sixth Discussion: March 28th @ 12pm (140 Atkinson St. Detroit)
(“Plato’s Pharmacy”, pgs 61-171)

Winnicott – Playing and Reality
Seventh Discussion: April 4th @ 12pm (Stella Coffee, Fisher Building Detroit)

Lakoff – Pharmaceutical Reason
Eighth Discussion: April 11th @ 12pm (Stella Coffee Fisher Building Detroit)

Cosgrove – Financial Ties Between DSM Panel Members & Pharmaceutical Industry
Ninth Discussion: April 25th @ 12pm (Stella Coffee Fisher Building Detroit)

Stiegler – Taking Care of Youth
Tenth Discussion: May 16th @ 12pm (Stella Coffee Fisher Building Detroit)

Preciado – Testo Junkie
Final Discussion: March 30th @ 12pm (TBD)

A Thousand Plateaus of Cannibal Metaphysics

professor-challengerGilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari wrote the companion text to Anti-Oedipus, A Thousand Plateaus in 1980. Volume Two of Capitalism and Schizophrenia has impacted various disciplines in both the human social sciences and the arts. Cannibal Metaphysics, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro’s long awaited english translation of Metaphysiques Cannibales pushes the creative plateaus beyond the 15 given by Deleuze and Guattari. De Castro incorporates his ethnographic field research into a text that blurs the lines between anthropology and philosophy and pushes the limits of both. (We will be looking at art by Marc Ngui as a supplement to the first few chapters of the text.)

A Thousand Plateaus

First Discussion is Saturday 1/31/15 @ 1pm 140 Atkinson St. Detroit
(Intro & DRAWINGS)

Second Discussion Saturday 2/7/15 @ 2pm 140 Atkinson St. Detroit
(Intro – Second Plateau: 1914 & DRAWINGS)

Third Discussion Saturday 2/14/15 @ 2pm 140 Atkinson St. Detroit
(Continue with Second Plateau: 1914 & DRAWINGS)

Fourth Discussion Saturday 3/7/15 @ 2pm 140 Atkinson St. Detroit
(Third Plateau: 10,000BC & DRAWINGS)

Fifth Discussion Sunday 3/15/15 @ 12pm 140 Atkinson St. Detroit
(Fourth Plateau: Nov. 20th 1923: Postulates of Linguistics)

Sixth Discussion Sunday 3/22/15 @ 12pm 140 Atkinson St. Detroit
(Third Plateau: 10,000BC)

Seventh Discussion Sunday 3/29/15 @ 12pm 140 Atkinson St. Detroit
(Eleventh Plateau: 1837: Of the Refrain)

Eight Discussion Sunday 5/10/15 @ 12pm 140 Atkinson St. Detroit
(Fifth Plateau: 587 BC-AD 70: On Several Regimes of Signs)

Ninth Discussion Sunday 5/17/15 @ 12pm 140 Atkinson St. Detroit
(Thirteenth Plateau: 7000 BC: Apparatus of Capture)

Tenth Discussion Sunday 5/24/15 @ 12pm 140 Atkinson St. Detroit
(Seventh & Sixth Plateaus: Faciality & How to Make Yourself a Body Without Organs)

Eleventh Discussion Sunday 5/31/15 @ 12pm 140 Atkinson St. Detroit
(Eighth Plateau: 1874: Three Novellas )

Twelfth Discussion Sunday 6/7/15 @ 12pm 140 Atkinson St. Detroit
(Tenth Plateau: 1730: Becoming)

Thirteenth Discussion Sunday 6/14/15 @ 12pm 140 Atkinson St. Detroit
(Ninth Plateau: 1933: Micropolitics and Segmentarity)

Fourteenth Discussion Sunday 6/21/15 @ 12pm 140 Atkinson St. Detroit
(Twelfth Plateau: 1227: Nomadology)

Fifteenth Discussion Sunday 6/28/15 @ 12pm 140 Atkinson St. Detroit
(Fourteenth Plateau: 1440: Smooth and Striated)

Final Discussion TBD

Cannibal Metaphysics

Riot and Revolt: Selections from Alain Badiou’s The Rebirth of History: Times of Riots and Uprisings

“When we revolt it’s not for a particular culture. We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe” (Frantz Fanon)

Grand jury decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson

“In these processes, where the state puts on its most hideous expression, a no less detestable consensus is forged over a particularly reactive conception that can be summarized thus: the destruction or theft of a few goods in the frenzy of a riot is infinitely more culpable than the police assassination of a young man – the assas­sination that caused the riot. The government and press hastily assess the damage. And here is the vicious idea spread by all this: the death of the young man – a ‘black hooligan’ , no doubt, or an Arab ‘known to the police’ – is nothing compared with all these additional costs. Let us grieve not for the death, but for the insurance companies. Against the gangs and thieves, let us stand guard, shoulder to shoulder with the police, in front of our property, which is coveted by a rabble foreign to our values…article-2727560-209B036E00000578-628_634x421
453689558Here, by contrast, it will be asserted that the life of a young man is priceless – all the more so in that he is one of the countless people abandoned by our society. To believe that the intolerable crime is to burn a few cars and rob some shops, _1
whereas to kill a young man is trivial, maxresdefaultis typically in keeping with…the principal alienation of capitalism: the primacy of things over existence, of commodities over life and machines over workers…encapsulated in the formula: ‘The dead seize the living’…image
Note, by the way, that while there is ‘zero tol­erance’ for the young black who steals a screwdriver, there is infinite tolerance for the crimes of bankers and government embezzlers which affect the lives of mil­lions. Sophisticated intellectuals, who shed tears at the sight of the millionaire director of the IMF in hand­ cuffs, consider the government ‘lax’ in the inner cities and think one cannot see enough Arabs and blacks in chains.” (Alain Badiou – The Rebirth of History)

ferguson-protesters-defy-curfew.siThe first goal of this meeting is to discuss Alain Badiou’s three categories of riots, i.e. immediate riot, latent riot, historical riot. The second goal is to have a group discussion about but not limited to: the accuracy and applicability of these categories as tools for analysis; riots as events of collective expression or catharsis; the viability of riots and revolts as means for generating lasting social transformation, the state and media labeling of and response to riots; and the differences between these tactics and other tactics or strategies of social change.

Selection from Alain Badiou’s The Rebirth of History: Times of Riots and Uprisings (2012).

Note that the location has changed because of the generous offer from Trinosophes to host. They are currently exhibiting: Power to the Vanguard: Original Printed Materials from Revolutionary Movements Around the World (1963-1987) From the Collection of Brad Duncan.

Discussion will be held Saturday, December 13th, 2pm @ Trinosophes: 1464 Gratiot Avenue Detroit, MI 48207


The Writings of Eugene Ionesco

The Writings of Eugene Ionesco is a survey of Ionesco’s work. We will begin with a series of Ionesco’s earlier one act plays. Readings will be accompanied by expository and critical texts by Ionesco himself. Preceding each reading, roles will be assigned democratically to the members of the group. Each reading will be followed by a discussion of the text. We will end the series with a screening of Tom O’Horgan’s film adaptation of Rhinoceros. The readings are intended to be both an exploration of Ionesco’s contributions to theater and a cooperative play. We will find Ionesco’s plays are not only intellectually stimulating and challenging but riotously funny. Before our regular scheduled Tuesday meetings, we will attend the Abreacht Theater’s production of Sam Shepherd’s critically acclaimed play, Buried Child.

Please note the locations as they change throughout the course. Those who attend should come prepared with a copy of the play. Scheduled readings will be posted below as they become available.

Friday, October 10, 7:45 at the Abreact – Sam Shepherd’s Buried Child
Tuesday, October 21, 6:30 at Cafe 1923 – Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano
Tuesday, October 28, 6:30 at Cafe 1923 – Ionesco’s The LeaderIonesco’s The Future Is In Eggs
Tuesday, November 4, 6:30 at Cafe 1923 – Ionesco’s The Chairs
Tuesday, November 11, 6:30 at Cafe 1923 – Ionesco’s Rhinoceros Act I
Tuesday, November 18, 6:30 at Cafe 1923 – Ionesco’s Rhinoceros Act II
Tuesday, November 25, 6:30 at Cafe 1923 – Ionesco’s Rhinoceros Act III

The Art of Rolling: Skateboarding for Beginners

The Art of Rolling: Skateboarding for Beginners is a workshop for all ages on the art of rolling on a skateboard. Led by artist and pro-skateboarder Greg Fadell, this workshop will take place throughout October on select Saturdays and will encourage participants to think about skateboarding in new ways; beyond tricks and into the world of smooth turns and gliding across the streets of Hamtramck. This workshop is perfect for those who have never once stepped on a skateboard in their life.

Dates and times forthcoming. 

Pictured here: Last Saturday’s workshop with curious neighborhood participants. 


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Flash of the Spirit

Readings from “Flash of the Spirit”
6:30 – 8:00pm Tuesdays September 2 and September 9
Venue: “9338 Campau” Gallery, 9338 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck
In this course we will read selected sections from Richard Farris Thompson’s influential book “Flash of the Spirit”, with a specific concentration on the Yoruba section. Participants in the course will gain an understanding of the general themes of Thompson’s book and an introduction to some aspects of Yoruba culture. The course will accompany, the show “until something else comes along” by artist Saffell Gardner whose work reflects some of the themes of the book.
In week 1 we will read the book’s Introduction, in which Thompson outlines his major thesis: that more African visual culture and philosophy crossed the Atlantic to the Americas than is generally recognized. Also we will look at the first section of Chapter 1, “Black Saints Go Marching In: Yoruba Art and Culture in the Americas” which looks at Yoruba concepts such as “ashe”, “iwa” and “tutu”. This material is posted here and also here.
In week 2 we will look at two or three of the book’s portraits of major Yoruba Orisha, perhaps Eshu-Elegba, Ifa and/or Shango. Readings are forthcoming.

Youth Open Studios

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Every Saturday, 3–5pm at Klinger Street Studios, 11627 Klinger Street, Hamtramck, MI

All ages! Sculpture making! Painting! Drawing! More!