I opened my mail box today and found a letter from the Flint Public Library. Looks like the DADA book from the Flint MI x10 is now officially in the FPL collection. 
The story starts here…

I opened my mail box today and found a letter from the Flint Public Library. Looks like the DADA book from the Flint MI x10 is now officially in the FPL collection. 

The story starts here…


horseshoes - project #4

For the most part, being close will not count.

It is almost Thanksgiving and I have only completed 4 of the 10 Flint projects. At this point, finishing all 10 artworks by January 1 seems doubtful. Although I’ve thought about giving myself an extension into 2013,  I will stick to the plan and stop on Dec 31 at midnight.  We’ll see how close we can get.

Flint MI x 10 Project #4. Forge and install a horse shoe for a public space 

jeremy scudder

Above is a photo of Jeremy who is farrier in Upstate New York. My friend Kate visited him at Applegarth and told him about the Flint MI x 10 project.  She asked for a shoe that we could send to Flint MI for good luck.

Here is a short video from Kate’s phone of Jeremy showing the shoe he forged. In the video he also explains what a roadster is. 

Here is the shoe at his shop… 

jeremy scudder

and here is closer look of the shoe sitting on my desk back down in Brooklyn.

Horseshoe for FlintMIx10

For the next journey for this shoe, I will need your help. If you live in or near Flint and would like to have this shoe, please send me an email to mriver (at) mteww.com with the subject line “roadster” by Dec 15. In the email, let  me know where you would like to hang it and an address so that I can mail the shoe to you.

Ideally, the shoe should hang in a public place but pubic space is an opening idea. This could someplace like a bar, on a street sign or above your front door. As long as people can see it, it works for me. In exchange for the shoe, please send me a photo of it installed.

Also, big thanks to Jeremy and Kate for the luck. 

#3. Attempt to move Flint’s default Google map marker out of current parking lot location to City Hall.

As noted in the last post way way way back in August , I’m running a bit behind with the schedule of completing 10 artworks in Flint before the end of the year. Yes, I have only knocked off 3 of the 10 projects so far.  Yes, I’ve had a busy Fall. Yes, it might not happen. Then again, it might.

So, without without further ado, here is the report on my first attempt to move Flint’s default Google Map marker. 

As noted in the last post, Flint’s default map marker is currently residing in a parking space at the corner of East Court and South Saginaw Street.


By popular request over on the Flint Public Art Project’s Facebook page, I’m going to try to relocate the marker a few blocks South to City Hall. 


I’ve started the move with the a google search for "how does one relocated a google map marker?"

This search brought me the following direction from Google

If you notice that a marker is positioned incorrectly, you can move it to the right spot on the map.

  1. (Optional) Switch your view to Satellite and Show Labels. This allows you to move the marker accurately, as you can see both roads and satellite imagery.
  2. After you search for a place, click the the appropriate info window appears.
  3. If the marker is in the wrong location, select “Move marker” from the “more” drop down menu. Click and drag the marker to the correct location. Use the X to help you place the marker. Consider placing it at the entrance of the location, as this helps improve the accuracy of our driving directions.
  4. Click Save. Google Maps saves your changes.
So, here my screen shots shot of the big move.


and after…


Now then, Google notes that if you move the marker more than 200 ft (which I did) they will need to confirm the move before it starts showing up in the new location. They do not say how long it takes for someone at Google to confirm the move but my guess is a month to about the time when hell freezes over. Which, with global warming in full effect, seems like a very very long time. 
Anyways, if the marker is not over at City Hall by Dec 1, I’ll send Google a reminder note. 
4 down, 6 to go…

Default Location - Flint

Hello and welcome back to FlintMIx10

2012 is now past the halfway mark. Of the 10 artworks for Flint, I have sent the DADA book to the Flint Public Library (#2) and responded to a “the pasta is terrible” comment on Google Maps for Chevy In The Hole (#9) and planted pumpkin seeds culled from friends Catskill garden (#6) 

Yes, it looks like the project is a bit behind schedule. The goal is to complete everything by Dec 31, 2012.  I can only say it is summer and sometimes summer needs to be slow. 

Moving on with the project, let us now turn to #3. Attempt to move Flint’s default Google map marker out of current parking lot location to City Hall.  

First off, here is a screen shot of Google’s map with a default marker for city of Flint from the last week of July. 


and here is a closer look  


and here is the street view


Yes, as of July 2012, the default location marker for Flint is some parking space in a lot at the corner of East Court and South Saginaw Street. It may not be the most interesting site to represent Fint but then again “New York City” is currently some drug store on Broadway.
The idea is to try to try to move the Flint default marker to another location. My first thought for a new location was to just try to move it to down the street to City Hall. 


I also thought that maybe the location could be someplace less formal, like a museum….



or a historic site… 


or in the case of a city that helped birth the automobile, a cross road. 


I’m off to vacation next week. When I get back, we will review how Google accepts edits to location markers. Until then, if you have any suggestions for a new location for the Flint marker, let me know. 

Seeding Time

UBT Event

As noted in the last post, I’ve been a bit slow on the Flint MI x10 site in April due to a show at the Aurora Picture Show in Houston. I’m happy to report that the show is complete and turned out well. You can see how it went on the UBT tumblr site. If you are ever in Houston, check out APS. They are good folks. 

So, jumping back into FMx10, let’s start with a recap.  Of the 10 artworks for Flint, I have sent the DADA book to the Flint Public Library (#2) and responded to a “the pasta is terrible” comment on Google Maps for Chevy In The Hole (#9). So far, so good. I think the next thing to wrap up is #6  - With seeds culled from friends Catskill garden, plant rouge pumpkin in a Flint public park.

81 pumpkin seeds for Flint, MI

Way back in January, we looked at the best time to plant pumpkins in Flint. It seemed like the date to get things in the ground would be the fast approaching May 1.

So, here is what I’m thinking…

You might of heard of Flower Bombing. In general, I do not think this will work with pumpkin seeds. I have a feeling that you will probably only end up feeding squirrels. Also, as seen in the linked video, I do not advocate driving around Flint tossing clumps of dirt out of the back of pickup trucks into well kept lawns as this is A.) dorky and B.)  most likely pointless due to the fact that Mr and Mrs. well-kept-lawn, as well as the maintenance workers of Flint, will probably just weed whack anything that does not look like kentucky blue grass. 

Here is what I suggest. Find a patch of ground that is out of the way and will gets plenty of sun. Look for land that seems to be overgrown, ignored and forgotten.  Every big city has them. They are filler spaces stuck in some in between state. This space is perfect for a bit of urban gardening.  In the list, I say “public park” but any open space will do. This could be a parking lot, road divide or even be your front lawn. 

When you have your location picked out, it’s time for some rouge and perhaps nocturnal gardening. I would suggest one of following two approaches.

Method 1.

Using something like a spade, hand trowel or just a big stick, draw a circle in the ground about 3 feet in diameter. The line of your circle should be around an inch or so in depth. This small trench help will catch some rain as pumpkins are notorious water hogs. Inside your circle dump some soil with the center a few inches higher than the edges. In the center of the circle plant 5 seeds just below the surface in a roughly 5 inch ring. Place each seed into the ground on its edge with the pointy side of seed facing the center. Drench the circle in water and you are done. You can also try sticking a small sign in the ground with text like “Amy’s First Rouge Pumpkins Patch”. I’m not sure that this will stop someone from mowing over your plants but it might help.

A few week later when the seeds come up, pull the 2 smallest plants out as they will end up choking the larger plants growth. Sorry, I know that sound harsh but that’s the way plants work sometimes. Later in the summer, when things get going, you can steak the vines and fruits a bit to avoid weird ground rot and bugs.      

Method 2.

Dig a small shallow hole in the ground and dump a few seeds in. Cover it up and come back in the Fall to see if anything happened. 

Want Seeds?

If you are in and around Flint and would be interested in planting some seeds, send me an email mriver (at) mteww.com and I will mail some off to you.  I have 81 seeds from last year so don’t be shy. In solidarity, I plan on planing a patch here in Greenpoint Brooklyn along the waterfront. I’ll let you know how it goes. 

Slow Flint MI x1O posting until May

Entire UBT 1st Study Model

Hi. Just in case you had begun to worry about the lack of Flint Mi x 10 progress in the last few weeks (yeah. I know you have not really been thinking about it but I like to imagine someone would), I have been working on an installation for Houston Texas for April 14. You can check out the details at http://universalbackyardtheater.tumblr.com

I promise that once I finish the UBT project, I’m back at Flint MI x 10. Also, if you have short film or video that you would be interested in screening, let me know.   

Tags: ubt mtaa

flint jpg landscapes

March is here and with a few of the Flint MI x10 projects underway, I’ve been touring around the city thinking about the next step. I’ve noticed a small collection of screen shots growing in a folder on my desktop.  So, for this week, I thought I would just photoshop some of my favorites for you. Think of them as postcards. Enjoy. 

Also, here is the ongoing map of  Flint MI x10 sites with the photo locations marked. 

View flintmix10 in a larger map

Oh, if you have a favorite site in Flint to photograph, let me know. 

2 for 1 Hot Wings

In last week’s The Pasta is Terrible post, I started Flint, MI x10 Project #9 - Respond to “the pasta is terrible” comment on Google Maps for Chevy In The Hole. “  

View Larger Map

In an example of why the Internet is a strange space to make pubic art, the author of the original “the pasta is terrible” review showed up in the blog’s comments. Matthew Woodson (aka VonWoodson), talked a bit on how he ended up posting the Chevy in the Hole review. He noted Come for the pasta but stay for the Thursday 2 for 1 hot wings” and "This place will take your order and never deliver it. This has happened more than once !!!!!!" as responses I proposed that made him laugh. I’m glad Woodson showed up as I have spent some time in the last months imagining the person who left the comment. Disgruntled former employee and spam bot had crossed my mind. Good to see it was a person in Flint with a sense of humor.
In the end, as no one else weighed on the matter, I gave Chevy in the Hole 4 stars and went with Woodson’s pick of the hot wings review.  Everyone loves Hot Wings.

When I posted the review, Google encouraged me to be the first to post an image. As I like to consider myself a visual artist, I thought this might be a good idea. After a quick image search for “hot wings” and some photoshopping of my favorite result, I posted this image as well. 


Google said that it was reviewing my image and would let me know when it was approved. I fear I might have gone one step to far.

The Pasta is Terrible

With winter finally here in NYC and a deep chill in Flint, today is a good day to be inside surfing the Internet. It seems like the right time to begin Flint MI x10 Project #9

Respond to “the pasta is terrible” comment on Google Maps for Chevy In The Hole.

Before we dig into the pasta and the hole, here are a few Flint MI x10 updates.

It has been a few weeks since I mailed the DADA catalogue to the Flint Public Library. Still no word of it making it to the shelves. I’m not going to worry about it yet. This may just be the nature of the work. Some Flint MI x 10 projects will end with - and It went to Flint  and was never seen or heard from again.  But, for now, I still have some hope it will show up.
From the last post on planting Pumpkins seeds in Flint, Shaun Smakal noted on the Flint Public Art’s Facebook page that the Flint’s Hardness Zone was just updated for the first time since 1990 by the USDA. It is now 6a (-10 to -5).  I’ve heard a few reasons for the update. I’ve heard USDA folks say that we’re better at modeling weather patterns now or our last data set was in the 70’s and it was unusually cold back then.  And, of course, we might want to consider the gigantic elephant in the room. It’s hard to avoid the thought that this is another sign of global warming. In any case, and for any reason, it might be time to consider what a warming planting zone might mean for the next 100 years.

And now from plants to the plant, also know as Chevy in The Hole. 

First, some here is a brief history from the Land Bank Report  - Reimagining Chevy in the Hole

Flint first became known as the nation’s Vehicle City in the late 1800s for its wagon and carriage industry, and later for the automobile industry. Chevy in the Hole was the manufacturing center of Chevrolet Motors, part of General Motors, in the early 1900s. When General Motors was at its peak in the 1950s, the company employed 89,000 in Flint and around 8,000 at Chevy in the Hole. Chevy in the Hole and its workers also made national history in the labor movement when the United Auto Workers’ Sit-Down Strike occurred in 1936-1937

Most of the buildings at the site were torn down in the 90’s with the last operating facilities shutting in 2004. On May 12, 2011, the city of Flint took control of the 103 acre site , now one of America’s largest brownfields, with the goal of converting it to a low maintenance green space.   

In December of 2011, while doing RnD for the Flint , MI x10 project, I came across the then lone user review on Goolge Maps for Chevy in the Hole.  The review/epitaph for this nationally historic site simple stated “The pasta is terrible.” 

I had a friend who placed art, pop culture and the Internet on a high pedestal. She did so with an intelligence and insight that always dropped my jaw.  She held one Golden Rule for culture and I have tried to keep this standard in my life. The rule - “Never step on a punchline.”  

So, be it intentional on unintentional comedy or tragedy, I have taken the task to reply to “The pasta is terrible” review. With respect and love to the city, and an apology to user name “VonWoodson” for stepping on their line, here is my short list of possible review responses. Each one is lifted from the literary sub-gene “online restaurant user reviews.”

1. Come for the pasta but stay for the Thursday 2 for 1 hot wings.

2. explain to me how I managed to blow $100 on drinks the other night

3.  Here is where you can eat pasta and it feels “light.” The dishes have the optimal ingredients and prepared so precisely. A very modern decor, a good place to take out of town friends, or family of any age. Can be a wait to get in so best to get a reservation, they are very popular! It is very fun to get the pasta prepared in the cheese wheel. You would think it would taste very “heavy” but it was somehow creamy and light and wonderfully smooth with a sharp cheese bite - you should try it!

4. This place will take your order and never deliver it. This has happened more than once !!!!!!

5. Third day at this place. Waitress laughed away the discount request.

6. I’ve dined in twice so far and did takeout once. I’d like to see some flowers on the tables and maybe a candle.

7. the bartender did not like us, probably because we were on a pub crawl and had stopped for dinner.

8. There has been many severe zombie attacks in this area!

9. Best flavor I ever experienced

10. ..and such small portions.

Since October a few more reviews have join VonWoodson and I think I’m ready to weigh in as well. So, just to open this up, let me know which one to go with or post your user review in the comments below. 
Of course, it might be better to say something like “Site of UAWs’ Sit-Down Strike 1936-1937” or ”looks like a good location to build a public park”  I’ll leave that up to you. Whatever everyone likes, I’ll post on Google Maps next weekend.   

Zone 5b (-15 to -10 Fahrenheit)

With project #2 underway and January coming to a close, it’s time to jump ahead into February’s winter chill.  I’m not sure what project to work on next but with snow falling in Flint right now, it might be time for some indoor winter activities. Before we hunker down in the cold, let’s take a moment to think of the promise of spring.
According to the USDA’s Gardening and Plant Hardennes Zone Map, Flint, like most of Southern Michigan, is classified as Zone 5b (-15 to -10 Fahrenheit).  This classification helps us gauge when to start what seeds at what time of the year. This bring us to the question for the Flint, Mi x10 project - 
When can we plant pumpkins? 

Pumpkins, native to the Americas and traditional stars of Fall festivities, always seemed to me a hearty cold weather plant. The truth is they warm plants like watermelons and tomatoes. As a warm season plant, pumpkins should go in the ground after the last frost of winter.  The trick is that you also need to avoid planting them late or you’ll end up with poor freezing unripe pumpkins at Halloween.
This would be a good time to inform you of an
unfortunate fact in my life. Although I come from generation after generation of German Iowan farmers, I’m a plant killer. The one plant in my apartment, a little cactus named Roxey, just holds onto life in spite.  You name it and I’ve let it go unwatered for weeks in a terracotta pot. 
I think part of the problem is that I’m just not interested in house plants. I mean, what’s the point of an indoor fern? Pumpkins, on the other hand, I fawn over. I like to eat them. I like to carve them. I find them oddly beautiful and full of magic. For me, they are ancient beings who come into the world each Fall. They appear and let us know it is time to say goodbye to Summer’s grace.
It was with some hesitation that my neighbors and best of friends Kate and Mike invited me to plant a pumpkin patch near their cabin in upstate New York. As I have killed a few of Kate and Mike’s plants while house sitting as well as drowning every living thing in their backyard for good measure, I understood their concern. To all of our amazement, as the corn will not take and bugs munch on the tomatoes, a small patch of cooking pumpkins thrives in their garden. Each year, we cull a few seeds for planting  next spring.

k and m garden
Project #6. With seeds culled from friends Catskill  garden plant rouge pumpkin in a Flint public park.
Which brings us back to the question, when can we plant pumpkins in Flint this year? My best guess right now is the first week of May. As the snow falls in Flint, May feels a long ways away.