"Urban Blight: No Class Ceiling
On July 13, 2015, “Urban Blight: No Class Ceiling” was on display in the Musee du Louvre in Paris, France during a digital exhibition for See Me’s Exposure Photography Award. It was featured in the Architecture category of the competition and published in a portfolio of the exhibition. It did not skyrocket me to fame or put money in my pocket. I was surprised by the committee’s selection of this photograph from my portfolio for the exhibition. In my opinion, it was not the best or most noteworthy photograph in the collection I submitted for this exhibition opportunity. It still doesn’t seem real that one of my photographs was on display at the Louvre, but it seems fitting considering the themes working through this image. The bare bones of the buildings fascinated me in terms of repetition, line, and negative space in this condemned industrial complex. It also spoke to my senses regarding the destruction of communities across the globe due to politically backed class warfare. The damage is done, but we must pick up the pieces and find a way to carry on and reconstruct order out of the chaos.
The 05 neighborhood is on the fringe of a massive downtown revitalization. This is the corridor of the tucked away residential homes, rental properties, commercial commodities and forgotten pockets of industrial commerce, The dots of deterioration scattered throughout the neighborhood exhibit the facade of a disenfranchised or a hard-knocked spirit, which no longer provides shelter or holds power. Yet, power ebbs and flows through this neighborhood in the same serpentine manner as the Maumee glides through the city. It is a neighborhood that houses a diverse cross-section of the population inhabiting this city. The 05 cycles through periods of revitalization and blight depending on the whims of the residents moving in and out of this pocket of the city. The neighborhood association tends to flex the biggest political muscle. Those with the oldest roots established in this neck of the woods tend to hold the most sway, but they defy labels of a superficial classification systems.
The structure in this photograph is a building within the River City Complex near the bridge on Tecumseh St. It caught fire on September 25, 2013. Scores of people from around the neighborhood lined the Greenway path running along Edgewater Ave. with their phones capturing images of the firefighters battling the inferno. The ravenous beast refused to die and the war raged well into the night. It took around 14 hours of intense labor for the crews to slay their fiery foe. Although no one cheered its demise as the crowd had dispersed when there stopped being enough light for snapshots and video posts. This shell is what remained after the flames consumed everything else that made the building whole and sound. The demolition and clean up from the fire are still in progress. It’s not clear what will happen to the property once the land is cleared of all the rubble and debris. The location has potential to enterprising and creative minds; for instance, it has the necessary acreage available that a nearby university might consider repurposing it into a new track and softball facility. Whether it is the current of the river or of the power base, the 05 will roll with the changes.