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Matthew Story

Matthew Story

Brooklyn, NY, US

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c: jean louis farges
c: jean louis farges
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The Mothership


Our team from Anya Sirota + Akoaki designed and fabricated a P-Funk inspired Mothership to serve as a mobile DJ booth and broadcast module in Detroit’s epic North End neighborhood. Channeling the Afro-Futurist sensibility and playfulness of the legendary funk emblem, the Mothership marks the beginning of the O.N.E. Mile project, a collaborative urban scale initiative that stages year-round experimental cultural events.
 
We conceived the Mothership as an easy-to-assemble, deployable unit that fastens together using a simple aluminum paneling system and bolts. Sixteen water jet cut panels that fit in a pick up truck attach to produce a self-structured polygonic shape secured to an interior platform. Steel tubing supports the vessel and floats the DJ staging area four feet above the party.
 
“The Mothership’s cosmetic finish borrows techniques from car customization;” explains Anya Sirota, “we’re blinging the surface with polished gold vinyl and dichroic film.” The result is a glistening exterior that purposefully couples popular embellishment with psychedelic interior effects. “Billowing smoke and lighting add to the illusion that the module just landed,” adds Jean Louis Farges. When activated at events, the Mothership’s front panels crank open revealing the artist, along with a DJ table, mixer, laptop and speakers.
 
As an urban marker and cultural prototype, the project comes at an important time for the North End. As residents of Detroit know, blight removal across the city is proceeding at an accelerated clip. Unchecked, the broad renewal plan threatens to erase important historical vestiges that connect Detroit and its cultural innovations to a greater national legacy. The Mothership is a physical reminder. It’s an icon that says important things happened in Detroit and its outlying neighborhoods. Rather than plaques, the module serves as a living reminder that Funk music literally started here.
 
The Mothership made its iconic debut during O.N.E. Mile free and unprecedented launch event this past October, where twelve former and continuing “family” members of Parliament-Funkadelic staged a special live performance in an unmarked garage on Oakland Avenue. The mobile unit is currently stationed there, but makes public appearances throughout the city.

 The Mothership is a latest in a series of experimental urban projects that blend architecture, art and media to produce social and surprising spaces. While their interventions tend to question generic types and expectations, often siding with informalist ideals, they imagine design as a generative, cultural infrastructure concerned with the production of civic, non-restrictive environments. 
(adapted from Akoaki)

 
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Status: Built
Location: Detroit, Michigan
My Role: Project Manager
Additional Credits: AKOAKI, MODCaR

 
c: jean louis farges
c: jean louis farges
c: jean louis farges
c: jean louis farges
c: matthew story
c: matthew story
c:peter halquist
c:peter halquist
c: jean louis farges
c: jean louis farges
c:akoaki
c:akoaki