Jeffry Chiplis, Neon Repoetry

Cleveland-based neon master Jeffry Chiplis is coming to Dlectricity!

Chiplis has been a fixture in the art world for decades. He has shown work at White Box Gallery in New York as well as at the Scope Art Fair. His use of neon as a primary material makes him stand out from his peers; he was featured in a solo spread in Art in America.

Through it all, he has remained loyal to Cleveland and to his use of repurposed neon. In an interview with, he jokes that he avidly “upcycled” before it was “trendy” to do so.

For Dlectricity, Chiplis is bringing an iteration of his “Neon Repoetry” series, recycling letters and shapes from neon signs to write original poems and create visual installations. Removing neon tubes from their original context allows them to take on new meaning. Chiplis welcomes open interpretation of his poems and his work.

In his spare time, Chiplis is a collector of carrot memorabilia and his collection of items numbers over 10,000. He is featured on the carrot museum website here.

Chiplis’ project will be located on the outer wall of the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art. Thank you so much to the N’Namdi Center for hosting this project!

Apetechnology is Back for Round Three!

One of only three artists coming to Dlectricity 2017 to have presented at all three festivals, Detroit-based collective Apetechnology is back!

Apetechnology combines tech and art to focus on the human relationship with technology. Referring to their work as “Detroit Retrograde Futurism,” the group looks back on the once-celebrated “future” with a critical eye.

The collective had a show at Public Pool Art Space in Hamtramck in 2016. Their piece “Slendrotron,” an electronic Gamelan orchestra that plays music randomly generated by a computer algorithm, was featured in a show of other multimedia work.

For Dlectricity 2017, Apetechnology is presenting “The Shadows of Slendrotron (The Monkey God’s Great Leap),” a robotic performance piece inspired by traditional Javanese puppetry that brings the “Slendrotron” orchestra to Dlectricity. “The Shadows of Slendrotron” includes the live performance of an adaptation of a play from the Hindu epic Ramayana using automation, puppeteering and robotics accompanied by music from the electronic Gamelan orchestra.

Apetechnology’s piece “MechanoShards” at Dlectricity 2014 explored synchronized motion, light, sound and musical composition using 20-foot tall mechanical constructions created to look like shimmering crystal shards.

Collective members Chip Flynn, Leith Campbell and Leo Garza will present “The Shadows of Slendrotron.” Flynn founded Apetechnology in 2002, returning to Detroit to hone in on aesthetic machine design; Campbell explores all forms of technology while simultaneously testing the limits of improvisation; Garza is a S.A.G. puppeteer who has recently done media modeling work for Disney/Pixar.

Thank you so much to The Knight Foundation and Bluewater Technologies for their generous support of this project!

Thank you so much to the Detroit Institute of Arts for hosting this project!

Michaela Mosher: Artist and Curator at the N’Namdi Center

Michaela Mosher’s job as gallery coordinator at the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art makes her a key player behind-the-scenes of Detroit’s art world, but she is also an accomplished artist in her own right beyond her work as a coordinator and exhibition designer.

Originally from Flint and educated at CCS, Mosher is a multi-disciplinary artist with an emphasis on installation and performance. We are so excited to welcome her back to Dlectricity to present “PRIMETIME,” a project featuring multiple video installations and live performances curated by Mosher.

Mosher and Dlectricity curatorial and production manager Alivia Zivich will both be presenting video installations in the show, along with artists Katie Barkel, Oren Goldenberg and Chris Tysh, Kaio Huvaere and Matteus Huvaere, Ginny Martin, Oksana Mirzoyan, Clifford B. West and Harry Bertoia.

Theater company “A Host of People” (Sherrine Azab and Jake Hooker, with Torri Lynn Ashford, Aja Salakastar Dier, Karilú Alarcón Forshee, Chantel Gaidica, Chris Jakob, Billy Mark, Dorothy Melander-Dayton, Sam Moltmaker, and Maddy Rager) will present live performances of “Neither There, Nor Here,” an original multimedia interdisciplinary play directed by Sherrine Azab that examines the experiences of people with liminal identities of race, gender, culture and sexuality. Performers create dishes representative of their mixed identities, using the format of a cooking show to guide the work.

Mosher’s work in exhibition design is currently on view at the N’Namdi Center exhibition, “Round in Circles,” on view through August 26. The installation and performances for “PRIMETIME” will also be held at the N’Namdi Center. Thank you so much to the N’Namdi Center for hosting this project!

Check out her video work here.

Check out her website here.

Check out the current exhibit at N’Namdi Center that she designed here, on view through August 26!

FaShon Vega’s Star Tours: A Far Away Galaxy in Midtown

FaShon Vega is a Detroit-based artist with a passion for design. He is creative director of The Bottega Art Campus, a creative performance and installation space that serves as a community art center. He also founded “GLoW: Detroit,” a mission to bring permanent light, art and safety to the streets of Detroit neighborhoods and works as a designer for “BANKAi: Academy for Heart and Design,” helping businesses update their branding.

Vega is passionate about creating art and light in his community, making him a perfect match to bring light to Dlectricity. His project “Star Tours,” in collaboration with THREE13 ACTION DESIGN, is part live action performance, part cosplay and part strolling installation. Multiple light “Stunt Saber” battles between the light forces and the dark forces armed with light sabers will take place throughout the evening, culminating in an epic battle at the end of the night. Performers will interact with audience members when not performing.

His new youtube channel Hate by Design will uncover through vlogs and “weekly dives” the way design impacts our daily lives. Subscribe here and learn design hacks, tips and tricks.

Thank you so much to Wayne State University for hosting this project. The Star Tours performances will take place on the green space at Woodward and Warren and other locations around the Dlectricity footprint. Be sure to take a photo with a Star Tours performer if you see one!

Three groups have donated their space, time and expertise to bring DLECTRICITY’s audience the best show in the state: Phoenix Free Running Academy and THREE13 AD have pulled together the state’s best tracures (parckour and free running enthusiasts), martial artists and stuntmen to transform Midtown Detroit into a galaxy far far away. Thank you so much to everyone contributing to this mobile, energetic and light-filled installation!

Pope.L presents Reenactor at DLECTRICITY

Pope.L, a Chicago-based artist who has been making public interventionist art for over twenty years, will present Reenactor at Dlectricity 2017. A video artwork projected on the façade of the Detroit Historical Museum, the work will run continuously throughout the festival weekend, day and night.

Pope.L writes, “I call Reenactor my Civil War film but the war I’m referring to is any great trauma that marks the land and its people such that ghosts are spawned and made restless in memories that haunt our living landscape.” Live music performances by Marcus Elliot and Ben Willis will accompany the video’s soundtrack during festival hours.

If you visited the Detroit Institute of Arts’ 30 Americans show last year, you may have seen video footage of The Great White Way, a performance piece by Pope.L that addressed social injustice by documenting the artist make a 22 mile crawl up Broadway in Manhattan while dressed in a Superman costume, completed over the course of nine years.

This year, he’s been getting a lot of attention from the art world. He was a VIA grant recipient for Artistic Production based on installations at Documenta 14 and had a solo show at Mitchell-Innes & Nash in New York. He also won the prestigious Bucksbaum Award at the 2017 Whitney Biennial for Claim (Whitney Version), an installation of walls creating a space covered inside and out with curing slices of baloney that raises questions about identity, community and healing. He will have a solo show at the Whitney in 2018.

Pope.L will also present Flint Water Project at Detroit artist-run gallery What Pipeline, on view September 7 through October 21, 2017. Flint Water Project is an art installation, a performance and an intervention that calls attention to the water crisis in Flint by bottling contaminated Flint tap water and selling it as an edition in Detroit. This week, he launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the project.

As per the Kickstarter description, “When Pope.L was asked by What Pipeline to do a commission for Detroit, he felt that whatever he did it should not re-victimize the city as had been done too often in the past. What if Detroit could be the hero and come to the rescue of another midwest city in need?” More information at (or @whatpipeline) #whatpipeline #flintwaterproject

Special thanks to the Detroit Historical Museum for hosting this project and to the Knight Foundation and What Pipeline for their partnership in bringing Pope.L to Detroit.

Electric Park, Ablaze With Light

Dlectricity is a celebration of the wonder of light, technology, art and electricity—we can only imagine the wonder produced by electric light 111 years ago.

Detroit’s Electric Park opened to the public in 1906, on the west side of the Belle Isle bridge, now the site of Gabriel Richard Park. The park promised to bring attractions and entertainment surpassing the White City in Chicago of 1893, and the Detroit Free Press proudly proclaimed that “Rome with its seven hills will be a poor second to the roller coaster which is to be installed on the westerly side of the park.”

Complete with fortune tellers, fun houses, slides, a railway, concert space and programming, vaudeville shows, animals, acrobats, jugglers, and a roof garden café (“This promises to be a favorite place for young men to take their best girls on pleasant summer evenings, the whole atmosphere being conducive to ‘whispered nothings’ and that sort of thing”—Detroit Free Press, 1906). Plenty of free entertainment was also offered to visitors on the 7-acre ground space.

The founder of Electric Park, Arthur Gaukler, researched ways to bring summer entertainment to the masses. He believed in Detroit and the city’s future growth and development. A Free Press article from opening day also advertised for the public to buy shares of the park, promising a safe investment with a large return. Although the park closed for good in 1928, it brought joy to the city during its short but exciting time. The park’s use of electric light made it a pioneer of nighttime entertainment.

Electric Park was the earliest celebration of electricity and technology in Detroit—it is no wonder that it lived on in the hearts and minds of Detroiters to inspire Dlectricity more than a century later.

An April 1906 Free Press article proudly reported in advance of the park’s opening: “As its name indicates, Electric Park will be one grand blaze of electric lights in the evening. Some 75,000 incandescent bulbs will be used altogether…The lights, like everything else about the park, will be arranged in the most artistic manner possible…the scene after dark will be beautiful beyond description.”

Check out more photos of Electric Park here

Thank you DTE Energy Foundation!

It’s only fitting that DTE Energy Foundation is the presenting sponsor of Dlectricity—they are one of the major forces (literally) electrifying Detroit. Their touch is felt everywhere in the city, from infrastructure to public programming to green space in Detroit.

Last month, DTE opened Beacon Park in Northwest Detroit, a 1.5-acre former gravel parking lot that is now a public park and event venue.

DTE is committed to public works and corporate citizenship. They partnered with the City of Detroit to make Detroit the largest city in the US with 100% LED public lighting. They are committed to reducing their carbon dioxide emissions to 75% below 2005 levels by 2040.

Their sponsorship of a festival based on light brings the company full circle in many respects. The incandescent bulb was first used in Detroit in 1883. In the 1890s, Henry Ford worked for the company that preceded DTE.

DTE serves 2.2 million customers with electric utility in southeastern Michigan and employs more than 10,000 people.

Thank you so much to DTE Energy for returning to sponsor Dlectricity—and for lighting up the city every night.

Bluewater to Bring Music, Interactive Dance Floor to Midtown

We are so excited to welcome Bluewater Technologies as both a creator and a sponsor at Dlectricity 2017!

The visitor becomes the artist with Bluewater’s interactive, ever-changing display for Dlectricity 2017. “Luminaria Magna” is a massive 25’ by 25’ square lightbox structure connected to pressure pads on the dance floor, turntables and other interactive elements that each control a different characteristic of the light. Local DJs will perform as festival visitors dance and engage with “Luminaria Magna” to create a unique display of energy efficient LED light.

Bluewater’s impressive technology work is on display now as part of the Detroit Historical Museum’s “Detroit ‘67: Perspectives” exhibit. Along with two other local tech companies, Bluewater was commissioned by the Museum to use advanced video and projection tools to create an immersive experience for viewers. The company also supports local artists, commissioning Detroit-based Antonio “Shades” Agee to design interpretive graffiti murals for their office spaces.

As a company, Bluewater places emphasis on strategy, creativity and innovation. Bluewater creates live event and AV technology experiences for strong brands, working with agencies, producers, exhibit houses, architects and consultants. The company is committed to flawless execution, pushing boundaries and providing an experience beyond technology to their clients and partners.

Thank you so much to Bluewater for bringing energy, music and light to Midtown—be sure to take a spin on the dance floor! #BWMoves

“Luminaria Magna” will be located on the grounds of Wayne State University at Woodward and Warren. Thank you so much to WSU for hosting this project!

Check out their tech work at the Detroit Historical Museum.

Check them out on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Arts & Scraps Brings Art & Shadow to Dlectricity

Using recycled materials and hands-on workshops, Detroit-based organization Arts & Scraps brings accessible art to the people. Particularly serving children in low-income areas, Arts & Scraps provides education and creative experience with an emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.

Ang, Trice Clark, Brian Quintilla and David King from the Arts & Scraps team are bringing the interactive workshop “Light as a Shadow” to the “Electric Park” family-friendly zone at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Workshop participants will create a character out of Arts & Scraps materials and then use that character to cast shadows on the projection wall. Participants will also have the chance to experiment with color mixing and shadow. By combining artistic creation and the phenomena of light, “Light as a Shadow” provides creative education for all ages.

The Arts & Scraps founders saw a need for art programs with affordable materials in the Detroit community, which they have been providing since 1989. Arts & Scraps recycles 28 tons of materials and serves 275,000 children every year, while fulfilling their mission to connect business, education and community.

Thank you so much to the DIA for hosting this project!

Check out a profile on the organization from the Detroit News in 2015 here.

Donate to Arts & Scraps here, or with items from home here.

Wire Car Workshops – Now through September 3, 2017

Make a wire-car and cruise with them for DLECTRICITY on September 22-23, 2017! The Wire-car Auto Workers Association (WAWAD) is running workshops every Sunday till September 3, 2017 at the Zimbabwe Cultural Centre of Detroit. They will show you how to make your dream car out of wire, style it up and cruise with them.

Please bring any pliers you have, work gloves, safety glasses and the basic wire:
1. 100 ft. Plastic-Coated Galvanized Wire ($8.98 at HomeDepot)
2. a spool of 16-20 gauge wire.
3. workclothes.
4. Images or drawings of your dream car! (A sketch book with a pen or pencil is a good idea)

They will provide strong 9 gauge wire for the, axels, shaft and bottom outline of your car, as well as rubber for the wheels. Make your body and they will help you build the wheels for you,

Upcoming Workshops:
Aug 13, Aug 20, Aug 27, and September 3 | Each day from 2:00-5:00 p.m.

The Zimbabwe Cultural Centre of Detroit is located at:
3341 Cody St
Hamtramck, MI 48212

The Wire-Car Auto Workers Association of Detroit (WAWAD) is an organization that hosts workshops to teach people how to make toy cars out of wire, a tradition that founder Chido Johnson learned while growing up in Africa. Woodward Avenue is where the first cars ever cruised, so after moving to Detroit, Johnson felt inspired to bring the wire-car, inspired by the presence of American cars in Africa, back to the very road where the whole industry began.

After becoming a 2009 Kresge Artist Fellow in the visual arts, Johnson began holding workshops to teach people how to craft their own wire-cars, sharing the tradition with a wider audience. Since then, WAWAD has held many workshops and cruises in communities in and around metro Detroit. Most recently, they cruised as part of Detroit’s Marche du Nain Rouge in March of this year.

WAWAD aims to bridge the gap between cultures and bring people together to make a connection. We are so excited to host a wire-car cruise during Dlectricity, set to take place outside the Detroit Institute of Arts Farnsworth entrance.

If you can’t make it to one of their workshops, check out the information on the WAWAD website for guidance on how to craft a wire-car on your own here.

Thanks again to the Detroit Institute of Arts for hosting this project and WAWAD for hosting these workshops—we can’t wait to see everyone cruise!