Care of the City

A conversation with Michael Stone-Richards and others about caring and the routines of habit which establish spaces as livable


Fields of Knowledge
  • Curatorial practice
  • Design
  • Health / Sustainability
  • Philosophy / Theory
  • Public culture

Organizing Institutions


Contributing Institutions

School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania


Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104


25% Formal - 75% Informal

Slought is pleased to announce "Care of the City," a conversation on Monday, April 18, 2016 from 6:30-8:30pm with Michael Stone-Richards and others about caring and the routines of habit which establish spaces as livable. The program will begin with a short presentation by Stone-Richards, followed by conversation with Bethany Wiggin and Jean-Michel Rabaté.

What, in the context of Detroit industrial and cultural histories, is a ruin? In many respects, the irritation felt by some at others' fascination with the ruin-objects of Detroit is a reaction-formation at becoming voyeuristic objects. In a strange way, the voyeurism built into the origins of the Western camera has now turned its gaze from exotic "others" to ourselves. Yet the form of art practice for which Detroit is increasingly gaining attention outside Detroit is not the ruin as such, but a predominantly post-Studio approach to art, of which Social Practice has become the dominant form. Social Practice is, indeed, an art of the city, where the city is taken as a historically conditioned and sedimented medium.

The conversation at Slought will build upon these considerations, as well as Michael Stone-Richards's writings about Scott Hocking's Garden of the Gods, 2009-2011. In this series, Hockings develops installations made from onsite materials–including reinforced concrete columns, with broken, used televisions atop the columns–on the collapsed roof of the Packard plant in Detroit, Michigan. The installation and constructed imagery capture a mythic landscape in snow, in a field of ruins. The exposed metal supports in the collapsed roof and columns appear like a form of drawing; the work of distancing inherent to the project makes the experience not an image but a social construction. The photograph thus becomes a partial indexical record or witness, an artistic artifact bearing upon the problematic of ruination and the archeological.

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Michael Stone Richards is a professor in the department of Liberal Arts, College for Creative Studies, Detroit where he teaches Critical Theory and Visual Studies. He has published widely in English and French on the history and theory of the avant-garde and contemporary art, including Logics of Separation: Exile and Transcendence in Aesthetic Modernity (2011) and the forthcoming The Wreck of Art: Studies in the Thought of Guy Debord, and The Grand Camouflage: A Reading of Suzanne Césaire's Final Work.

He is also the founding editor of Detroit Research, a new journal of practice and artist research for Detroit.

Bethany Wiggin is the Director of the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities.

Jean-Michel Rabaté is Senior Curator for Discursive Projects at Slought.

"The standard etymology of the English word care points to "Anxiety, sorrow," heedfulness, attention, even to lament, or to sorrow. So the English care has built into its latencies and historical sedimentation the idea of grieving, or sorrowing for that for which one cares; [...] that is, a relation of attentiveness, heedfulness, underwrit by a certain anxiety or anguish.

In the post-Studio practices under consideration there is [also] an implicit, inherent preoccupation with relationships, and an understanding that such relationships not only notionally embody but concretely enact reciprocity; further that such relationships of reciprocity are the outcome of and further an image of relationships, which image of relationships is in turn an image of participation; the images of relationship and participation are not to be understood as self-centered, as focused, that is, on individuality, for such images point to participation in larger patterns and structures – be they patterns of historical entailment, community, capital, globalization, or, indeed, the environment and larger ecological patterns equally marked by reciprocity."

– Michael Stone-Richards